The Lion of Africa Cape Town Open is a Sunshine Tour event. It's always been staged in November and this is the fifth renewal.
Royal Cape Golf Club, Cape Town, South Africa
Par 72, 6,844 yards
With a history that spans back 130 years, Royal Cape is the oldest course in South Africa. It's hosted the South Africa Open ten times, with the last occasion being 1996 when Ernie Els won the second of his five titles and it also hosted the Vodacom Players Championship between 1999 and 2002. It's been the host course for this event since its inception in 2012.
It's a tree-lined, flat parkland course with narrow fairways and subtle USGA-spec built greens. It's not a long course by modern standards and its primary defence is the wind.
First Four Winners
2012 - Jake Roos -9
2013 - Tjaart van der Walt -14
2014 - Jaco Ahlers -12
2015 - Brandon Stone -16
What can we expect at the Cape Town Open?
The course is quite exposed and wind is forecast for Thursday and Friday but don't give up on any selections that are slow to start in the windy conditions as plenty of ground has been made up here of late.
Brandon Stone sat tied for 76th and 11 shots adrift after an opening round 73 last year but after rounds of 66 and 63 he went into the final round three clear! He won by five.
The 2014 winner, Jaco Ahlers, beat Hennie Otto and Ross McGowan in a playoff and the winner and McGowan had trailed Otto by seven strokes at halfway and by four three rounds.
The 2013 winner, Tjaart van der Walt was never outside the top-five but he trailed by four at halfway and the 2012 winner, Jake Roos was five adrift at that stage. He won a playoff and two of the three men beaten in extra time, Tyrone Van Aswegen and Jaco van Zyl, came from way off the pace. Van Aswegen trailed by 11 strokes at halfway and Van Zyl was five back with a round to go.
If you don't fancy anyone before the off, there might be some mileage in trying a few outsiders from off the pace in-running.
Defending Champ, Branden Stone, heads the market but he's been really poor of late and makes no appeal.
Jacques Blaauw's course form isn't spectacular (35-MC-17-20) and his current form is inconsistent so he's dismissed easily too but 20-year-old Christiaan Bezuidenhout and the 2014 winner, Jaco Ahlers, are harder to ignore.
Bezuidenhout, who won the Sun Fish River Sun Challenge on the Sunshine Tour only last month, looks a star of the future and Ahlers' course and current form are impossible to ignore. The 34-year old is enjoying a great year and he's already won three times, at the Zambia Open, the Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge and just last month at the Vodacom Origins of Golf event.
I was tempted to play the injury-ravaged Otto, who has a great record at the course, but he hasn't played in ages and it's impossible to gauge his fitness so I've just had a small wager on Zander Lombard, who looks like a future star.
Lombard missed the cut here last year and his form of late has only been patchy but at just 21 he has plenty of scope. He was fourth in the Australian PGA Championship at the end of last year and second at the Joburg Open on the European Tour in January, as well as fifth at the Lyoness Open in June. If he can play to that level this week he'll go very close indeed and at an industry best price of 33/1 on the Betfair Sportsbook I was happy to take a small chance.
Zander Lombard @ 33/1
I'll be back on Thursday with the In-Play Blog.
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