Short course with lots of bunkers and undulating greens
Pavan 150/1151.00 could contend on DP World Tour return
Dan's 25/126.00 the man for another good Joburg showing
Tournament and Course Notes
• Following a wait of almost 19 years, Houghton Golf Club returned to the DP World Tour calendar 12 months ago, when the tournament was won by little-known Englishman Dan Bradbury. The 23-year-old, who had received a sponsor's invite, was competing in only his third event at this level;
• This week's tournament is being co-sanctioned by both South Africa's Sunshine Tour and the European-based DP World Tour;
• The course has staged eight South African Opens, the first of these in 1951, while the most recent was 31 years ago. Houghton is a lush parkland course, approximately two and a half miles north-east of Johannesburg city centre;
• The club has been in existence since 1926, although the current layout required some serious renovation work around 15 years ago. This upgrade was carried out by the Jack Nicklaus design group of architects;
• The club website reads: Houghton is 'not brutally long', claiming that its main defence is 'strategically and extensively positioned bunkers.' The greens were re-contoured with 'rolling undulations and subtle slopes to protect the integrity of the course';
• The website adds how 'the layout is dotted with ponds and dams.' However, water should only be an issue for Tour pros on seven holes.
Latest betting for this week's Joburg Open
Good Current Form And Strong Course History
Although there's not a great deal of Course History available, it's certainly worth noting that last year's surprise champion Dan Bradbury 25/126.00 has hit a rich vein of form during autumn.
After winning the Joburg Open in November 2022, the Englishman struggled during the first half of this year.
However, since the start of October, he has posted four straight top-20s, including a brace of T-10s.
Another strong Houghton performance is on the cards, even if Dan is unlikely to win back-to-back Joburg titles.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 20/121.00 returns to South Africa having spent most of 2023 on the PGA Tour.
He tied-sixth last month in the Deep South, a result which confirmed his Tour Card for 2024. Bezuidenhout was third at Houghton last year.
Good Current Form
Adrian Otaegui 28/129.00 has never been the most consistent of pros, but he's had a reasonable year on the DP World Tour and, in a low-quality field such as this, will fancy his chances this week. The Spaniard tied-18th in Dubai on Sunday.
Thriston Lawrence 25/126.00 is possibly ready to win again after finishing strongly at the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday when a 66 left him tied-fifth.
A number of Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour members could also get among the leaders this coming week.
Those who are currently playing well include Francesco Laporta 110/1111.00, Andrea Pavan 150/1151.00, Jacques de Villiers 500/1501.00 and Frederic LaCroix 40/141.00.
Perhaps the pick of this bunch is Pavan, the former world No 65 who is now ranked 480.
He finished eighth in this season's Challenge Tour standings and is ready for another crack at the top table. The Italian is a two-time winner on the DP World Tour.
And Japan-based, Joburg-born, Shaun Norris 110/1111.00 returns in decent shape for this week's event.
Finally, don't forget Dean Burmester 11/112.00 who spent 2023 on the LIV Tour where he secured his playing rights for next year after finishing 14th in the standings.
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves