It may not match up to the Players Championship but there are still seven places to play for on the European Tour this week and the Betfair golf team are backing the following five...
"South African form at altitude and form at tree-lined tracks looks like the way to go this week so in what’s a very trappy heat, I’m going to chance Stuart Manley. The Welshman won the Hauts de France Golf Open in June, one week after losing a playoff on the Challenge Tour (his second Challenge Tour victory) and he’s earned his card back on the European Tour where he’s twice gone close at courses that should correlate nicely with this one."
Steve Rawlings: Back Stuart Manley @ 100/1
EW Terms: 1/5 Odds | 7 Places
Dave Tindall: Back Jeff Winther @ 28/1
Jeff Winther brings plenty to the table in an event with one of the weakest fields we've seen on the European Tour for some time. For starters, the course (Karen CC) won't hold any mysteries. Winther has played the short par 71 twice in his Challenge Tour days, taking T48 on first look in 2014 but then adapting better to the altitude in 2015 when shooting four good rounds for T13. He'll head back this year with recent form of 12-14 in Oman and Qatar while his last two visits to Africa produced T7 in the SA Open and T8 in the Sunshine Tour's Dimension Data Pro-Am, his short game showing up strongly in all those events. There are plenty of hints that Jeff and Karen will get on particularly well this week.
Paul Krishnamurty: Back Robert Macintyre @ 60/1
In a low-grade event by European Tour standards, Robert Macintyre's consistent form spanning several months reads pretty well. The 22-year-old Scot earned his card for the higher level with a strong finish to last season's Challenge Tour and, since stepping up, has only missed two cuts out of ten. Most events were much stronger than this. For instance, he made the cut in all four Gulf events without threatening to contend but the standard was probably, more or less, equivalent to a top-ten in this company. On this continent, he finished top-15 in both the South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship. Especially given these luxury top-seven terms, a place payout is well within his range.
Steve Rawlings: Back Stuart Manley @ 100/1
South African form at altitude and form at tree-lined tracks looks like the way to go this week so in what's a very trappy heat, I'm going to chance Stuart Manley. The Welshman won the Hauts de France Golf Open in June, one week after losing a playoff on the Challenge Tour (his second Challenge Tour victory) and he's earned his card back on the European Tour where he's twice gone close at courses that should correlate nicely with this one. He lost a playoff to Miguel Angel Jimenez at the Hong Kong Open in 2013 and he was runner-up to Darren Fichardt in the 2016 Joburg Open. He's played here five times previously with a 19th last time (in 2015) the highlight, but the venue really should suit his game. Having just turned 40 and having enjoyed success last year he should feel rejuvenated and he could go well at a big price.
Joe Dyer: Back Christiaan Bezuidenhout @ 30/1
In a low-class field let's take a chance on a potentially high-quality operator in the form of Christiaan Bezuidenhout. A runner-up last week in Qatar, that result matches this young South African's best finish on the European Tour - second place in the 2016 BMW SA Open. Bezuidenhout finished fourth in the Kenyan Open that same year on the same course so we have ticks in two relevant form boxes. He is on his home continent this week so won't feel out of sorts in a country where the European Tour has never previously visited.
Mike Norman: Back Bernd Ritthammer @ 125/1
I was tempted to say a truly desperate event calls for desperate measures, but although this is without doubt one of the weakest fields ever assembled on the European Tour, by the same token it probably won't require a player in decent current form to win it. Literally anyone who is capable of playing high quality golf can turn up and win this week so with a trio of picks at the head of the market already made by the other guys I' going to throw a dart at 125/1 shot Bernd Ritthammer. His recent form claims aren't obvious, though as I've already said that shouldn't really matter this week, and the German hasn't exactly been in desperate form of late. He narrowly missed the matchplay stage of the World Super 6 recently and he recorded a top 25 finish at the South African Open a few months back. But it's his course form that stands out as the big reason to get him on side this week. The 31-year-old three-time Challenge Tour winner has finished inside the top 10 in all three visits to Karen CC including a third place finish here in his last tournament at the venue.
2019 Season P/L to date: -£214.17
- WGC Mexico Championship, Cameron Smith @ 60-1 PLACE (Paul)
- WGC Mexico Championship, Paul Casey @ 35/1 - PLACE (Mike)
- World Super 6, Scott Vincent @ 80/1 - PLACE (Paul)
- World Super 6, Paul Dunne @ 50/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Abu Dhabi Championship, Joost Luiten @ 80/1 - PLACE (Joe)
- Mauritius Open, Justin Harding @ 30/1 - PLACE (Dave)
*2018 P/L: +£727.16
*2017 P/L: -£306.84
*2016 P/L: +£267.58
*2015 P/L: +£958.37
*2014 P/L: +£251.75