It's the final event of the 2016 European Tour season and a reduced but high quality field of just 60 players has got Dan Geraghty licking his lips at the prospects of landing a big firs-round pay out...
"Nerves often seem to get the better of the South African, but that shouldn't be a problem here, on day one, at 8am."
Here's your first round leaderboard from last year's event:
- 66 Marcus Fraser
- 66 Martin Kaymer
- 66 Ian Poulter
- 66 Andy Sullivan
- 67 Francesco Molinari
The good news is, it's a 60 man field, so even if these four chaps come last they'll be closer than my recent selections have been. More good news is that the Sportsbook are still offering five places and there are some juicy prices about, so, without further ado...
Although it's a shortened field event, the players are all going off the first tee, so the draw will still play a part; I give a slight advantage to the very early starters, who as usual will have the best of the greens and should get a little less wind and slightly cooler temperatures.
An impressive run of form figures have seen Renato Paratore make his first Tour Championship at the tender age of 19. The youngster has made 12 of his last 13 cuts, putting him firmly on the radar; he's out in the second group here, giving him a chance to post a low one and be eating breakfast before the tournament has really got going.
Jaco van Zyl has always intrigued me, he's a birdie machine with a swing that rivals Louis Oosthuizen's, and has amassed a remarkable 14 wins on the Sunshine Tour; but he's yet to breakthrough on the big stage. Nerves often seem to get the better of the South African, but that shouldn't be a problem here, on day one, at 8am.
My final two darts won't be too far behind Van Zyl, at 8:10 and 8:20 respectively. Kiradech Aphibarnrat has shown a liking for the Earth Course in the two years he's played this event; on his debut in 2013, he was second after round one after shooting 67 and last year he shot the second best round of the week, an impressive 65. The enigmatic Thai has been in solid, if not spectacular, form of late and he looks overpriced at 80/1.
Ricardo Gouveia put in a remarkable performance to make it to this, the Race to Dubai final, at the first attempt. He registered his best finish of the season last week when third at the Nedbank to squeak in, in the nick of time. It's a good time of year for the talented Portuguese youngster to be hitting top form.
Back Renato Paratore @ 100/1
Back Jaco van Zyl @ 80/1
Back Kiradech Aphibarnrat @ 80/1
Back Ricardo Gouveia @ 80/1
*1pt EW on each