Joburg Open & RSM Classic In-Play Tips

18:55 – November 20, 2020

As so often happens during South African events, an afternoon storm caused a lengthy suspension of play at the Joburg Open so we haven’t quite reached the halfway stage. A number of players need to return to the course early tomorrow to finish off their second rounds and that includes a couple of players in-contention. Here’s the current state of play at 18:50 with prices to back, as well as holes played in round two where applicable.

Jacques Blaauw -13 5.85/1
Wilco Nienaber -12 3.90
JB Hansen -10 8.415/2 (thru 16)
Aaron Cockerill -10 16.015/1
Shaun Norris -9 12.011/1 (thru 15)
Julian Suri -8 32.031/1
Richard Bland -8 27.026/1
Rhys Enoch -8 60.059/1
-7 and 28.027/1 bar

The leader, Jacques Blaauw, was extremely impressive today but looking back at the four 72-hole tournaments played at Randpark this century, using this week’s venue, Firethorn, as well as the club’s other course, Bushwillow, no halfway leader has gone on to win.

Mathias Gronberg was five off the lead in fifth place at the 2000 South African Open, Shubhankar Sharma sat second, just one off the lead, at the last edition of this event in 2017, Louis Oosthuizen won the South African Open here in December 2018, having trailed by a couple of strokes at halfway and Branden Grace won that event in January, having sat tied for 11th and three off the lead.

At just 20, Wilco Nienaber has an incredibly bright future but it’s going to be tough for one so young to contend over the weekend. I’m not for one second saying he can’t win but he lost his way quite badly at the Portugal Masters when in-the-mix back in September and having a caddie that’s he’s only known since Monday isn’t a huge plus.

I’m happy to sit this one out for now but the one I came closest to backing was the young Canadian, Aaron Cockerill, who’s the only player in the top-five that was drawn Pm-Am over the first two days. With his girlfriend on the bag, Cockerill appears relaxed and he’s arguably slightly overpriced at 16.015/1 given his proximity to the lead.

The second round of the RSM Classic is well underway and I’ve had a small bet on the 2014 winner Robert Streb at 10.5.

I’ll be back tomorrow morning to take another look at this one at the halfway stage.

08:35 – November 20, 2020

The second round of the Joburg Open is well underway and it looks like favourite backers have already had their fingers burnt. Home favourite, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, a pre-tournament 17.016/1 chance, started his first round nicely and he was matched at a low of just 5.24/1 after he’d birdied five of his first six holes but he’s gone backwards ever since and at the time of writing, he’s languishing outside the top-40 places.

Promising youngster, Wilco Nienaber, and the experienced, Shaun Norris, tied for the lead after round one on eight-under-par and the fast start by Norris was particularly irritating.

Given his solid course form, I backed Norris in the South Africa Open here in January when he could only finish 36th but I was happy to chance him again at 44.043/1 after he shot back-to-back weekend 67s last time out in the competitive ZOZO Championship on the PGA Tour. Unfortunately, I didn’t get matched.

I probably should have left the event alone and waited to see what today brought but I couldn’t resist a small play on Garrick Higgo at 30.029/1 last night. He trails the current leader, Aaron Cockerill, who’s started his second round very well, by fully eight strokes so he’ll have to get a shift on when he starts his second round later today but he’s more than capable. He’s one of several that wasn’t quite a big enough price to chance before the off but he finished the opening round nicely and I thought 30.029/1 was acceptable.

Over at the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour, Camilo Villegas and Matt Wallace are tied for the lead after they opened up the event with six-under-par 66s on the Seaside Course but with eight players tied for third on -5 and a further ten players just two off the lead, I’m more than happy to let the stagger unwind and see where we are tomorrow.

On a tough first day, the Seaside Course played slightly easier than the Plantation Course – averaging fractionally below it’s par of 70 at 69.88, whereas the Plantation averaged 72.59, more than half a stroke above it’s par of 72.

Pre-event pick, Patton Kizzire, is amongst those tied for third and one of my three Find Me a 100 Winner selections, Wyndham Clark, sits tied for 31st and just four off the lead – despite a triple-bogey eight on the par five fourth hole on the Plantation Course!

Although only alongside Clark in a tie for 31st, Webb Simpson still heads the market but he’s now 12.011/1 to back, showing just how open the event is.

I’ll be back this evening or first thing in the morning with a look a the state of play at the Joburg open at the halfway way point.

Joburg Open Pre-Event Selections:
Daniel van Tonder @ 28.027/1
Masahiro Kawamura @ 65.064/1
Ross McGowan @ 200.0199/1

In-Play Pick:
Garrick Higgo @ 30.029/1

RSM Classic Pre-Event Selections:
Doc Redman @ 80.079/1
Stewart Cink @ 180.0179/1
Patton Kizzire @ 200.0199/1
James Hahn @ 200.0199/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections
Back Wyndham Clark 1u @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1

Back Harry Higgs 1u @ 210.0209/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1

Back Kristoffer Ventura 1u @ 210.0209/1
Place order to lay 10u @ 10.09/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter