What You Need to Know
This year’s BMW South African Open will be played at Glendower — located 5,000 feet above sea level — the host track since 2014. Local South African Brandon Stone won the event last season, making it 13 home country winners in 20 events since the second-oldest national Open Championship in the world joined the Euro Tour schedule in 1997. Gary Player, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, and Trevor Immelman are just a few of the well-known South Africans to win the tournament.
The last three winners have ranked inside the top 20 for Driving Distance (DD) on the week and two of the three finished inside the top 10 for Greens in Regulation (GIR).
The Big One
Rory McIlroy ($13,500), teeing it up with Callaway clubs this week, is the far-and-away favorite in this field with overwhelming 30.8 percent odds to win. According to our Trends tool, golfers with salaries of $12,500 or more and similar odds have previously provided a massive +17.40 Plus/Minus with a chalky 33.1 percent ownership. They have averaged 107.3 DraftKings points per tournament (PPT). Rory himself has matched for this trend five times since 2015 and has exceeded his salary-based expectations on four occassions while averaging 107.7 PPT.
McIlroy’s 67.8 Long-Term Adjusted Round Score (LT Adj Rd Score) leads the field by two full strokes, his 305.8-yard LT DD is tied for eighth, and his 71.9 percent LT GIR ranks 20th overall. He finished third at the South African Open as a teenager in 2008 at a different course. Rory has two wins, a fourth-, and a ninth-place finish in his last five tournaments.
The Bump and Run
Choke up and take a narrow stance.
Brandon Stone ($10,200): The defending champion’s current 7.7 percent odds to win are second to only McIlroy’s. Stone won the last event he played, December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, which was also in South Africa. It’s been reported that Stone shot a 61 in a practice round here this week. Stone recently wrote this in his blog for europeantour.com: “I’ve played here at Glendower Golf Club since I was a kid. I live just about 30 miles away so it’s pretty familiar. I’ve played a lot of junior events here and now quite a few professional events too. I really like the course.”
Andy Sullivan ($10,500): Sullivan’s 69.9 LT Adj Rd Score is third overall and he is a former winner (2015) at this event. Sullivan’s very respectable 68.9 percent LT GIR and 290.9-yard LT DD give him an edge at this course. Andy played well at the end of 2016: He had a second- and third-place finish in two of his last four starts. He missed the cut here last year.
Retief Goosen ($8,200): Goosen’s LT Adj Rd Score (69.8) is the best in the field among golfers not named Rory. Keep in mind that his 64 percent LT GIR ranks painfully near the bottom of the field and he has missed the cut in four of his last five events. However, in 13 appearances at the South African Open, Goosen has a win to go along with nine top-six finishes. He finished fourth here last season but should be deployed in guaranteed prize pools only.
Thomas Aiken ($9,600): Aiken ranks 14th in LT GIR at 72.8 percent and his 70.6 LT Adj Rd Score is fifth. He finished in fifth-place at this event last season and has broken par in all eight of his tournament rounds here at Glendower.
David Drysdale ($7,100): Drysdale’s 74.6 percent LT GIR ranks seventh, and his 71.0 LT Adj Rd Score is tied for 11th. He has crushed his salary-based expectations with near perfect Consistency in his last 10 events.
Dean Burmester ($8,300): Burmester drops bombs like the Bible drops Psalms: His 317.2-yard LT DD is second in the field. His mammoth drives have helped him on his way to a 71.1 LT GIR percentage. Burmester has a long history at this event, finishing 10th here last year.
Thomas Detry ($7,600): Euro Tour followers are expecting big things from the 23-year-old Belgian who is making the leap from the Challenge Tour this season. He has the third-best LT GIR percentage (77.8) in the field and his 296.8-yard LT DD is satisfactory. Detry finished third at the Alfred Dunhill Championship.
Erik Van Rooyen ($6,900): For those inclined to play the #LocalNarrative, South African Van Rooyen fits this course well: His 309.1-yard LT DD ranks sixth, and his 77.2 LT GIR percentage is fifth overall. He has made the cut at Glendower the past three years and has both a top-ten and top-twenty finish during that time.
Christian Bezuidenhout ($8,100): Christian’s 73.8 LT GIR percentage is 11th and he finished second here last season. He’s worth a shot in a GPP lineup.
Good luck in South Africa this week!