The European Tour stays in South Africa and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Leopard Creek...
"The switch to faster running Bermuda grass from Kikuyu was a big reason for the higher scores here last year and it's interesting to note how Besseling thrived again when taking on Valderrama."
Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places
Weather forecast for Leopard Creek: While the temperature gauge topped the 100 degree mark on Tuesday, it should be cooler - high 70s to high 80s - for Thursday's first round. Winds look modest for most of the day (5mph-7mph).
FRL history at Leopard Creek
2019 Wil Besseling (65)
2018 Oliver Bekker (66)
2016 Charl Schwartzel, Paul Dunne (66)
2015 Christiaan Basson (64)
2015 Branden Grace (62)
Strategy: The weather forecast looks settled for most of the day so nothing jumps out in terms of a morning/afternoon advantage. It's a bit warmer in the afternoon so I'll go for a 1:2 split.
Back Wesseling for repeat
Wil Besseling took first-round leader honours here last year and the Dutchman looks worth a bet to repeat the feat at 50/1.
The 34-year-old fired an eagle and six birdies last November to finish top of the pile after 18 holes.
He went on to take third place so clearly handled the harder scoring conditions at Leopard Creek impressively after the course was renovated following the 2017 event.
That tournament was won with 8-under, a contrast to three editions held before the toughening up which produced winning scores of -21, -15 and -20.
The switch to faster running Bermuda grass from Kikuyu was a big reason for the higher scores and it's interesting to note how Besseling thrived again when taking on Valderrama earlier this year.
The famed Spanish track is always one of the most testing on tour but Besseling dug in to finish third.
Since that September event, he's had three top 20s in his last six starts and one of those was fuelled by an opening 65 in the Italian Open. That put him third after round one.
He starts his day at 06:30 from the 10th tee.
Jump in for Jamieson
Scott Jamieson has a tremendous record in South Africa.
And he's shown that in this event with three top four finishes in his last six appearances.
As for fast starts, he was third after the opening lap on his penultimate appearance and he's been in the top eight following R1 in two of the last four.
Once again in a co-sanctioned European Tour event in SA, he popped up on the leaderboard at last week's Joburg Open.
A first-round 67 put him T17 at close of play on Thursday and he ended T20.
In his previous four openers - Scottish Open, BMW PGA, Scottish Championship and Italian Open - Jamieson had fired 64-75-67-68 which translated in R1 positions of 4-94-8-28.
The Scot is good at throwing in low rounds and a quick start here would come as no surprise.
The 50/1 chance tees off at 12:30 from No.1.
Look to Lombard
I put up Zander Lombard for FRL last week in Joburg.
He did shoot one of the lowest rounds, a 65. Although, unfortunately, that came in round two!
Still, the feeling that a return to home soil would get him going again proved pretty accurate as the South African took tied 15th.
Now he tees it up at a course where he's finished third (2018) and seventh (2019) since the renovations.
Lombard gained over 10 strokes tee to green in Joburg - a 21-stroke turnaround from the Hero Open in August - and if he hits the ball as well here, the 25-year-old should be in for another strong finish.
He opened 69-65 last week so I'll hope for some more good pre-weekend work - although this time on day one - here at Leopard Creek.
Lombard, an 11:50 starter from the 1st, is also 50/1.
Dave's First Round Leader P/L