Steve takes a quick look at this week South African action from Sun City, where he fancies Justin Walters to contend again on a course he plays well...
"Walters has already finished inside the top-ten here in his last three starts, including a fast-finishing third in this event 12 months ago."
This is just the second ever Investec Cup - an event that decides the outcome of the South African Sunshine Tour's money list. The race to the Investec Cup began last April at the Zimbabwe Open and points have been awarded throughout the season. The field is restricted to the top 30 players on the points list and this event works in much the same way as the FedEx Cup deciding Tour Championship in the states.
After his victory at the Tshwane Open, Ross Fisher leads the way with Andrew Curlewis scraping into the tournament in 30th, courtesy of a number of withdrawals. Here's the full list in points order.
Rounds one and two will be played at the Millvale Private Retreat and the weekend will played out at the Lost City course at Sun City
Course Details (Lost City)
Par 72 7310 yards
Stroke index in 2013 - 70.06
Both courses were designed by Gary Player but as we'll only get to see the weekend action at the Lost City course so I've concentrated solely on that venue.
UK viewers will be familiar with the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, which is the venue for the Nedbank Challenge and if the Lost City is anything like as impressive, we're in for a treat.
With Kikuyu fairways and bentgrass greens the course is described as being generous off the tee. The hole to look out for is the par 3 13th, where the green is perched beside a pond containing Nile crocodiles.
Rounds three and four live on Sky at 10:30 on Saturday and Sunday
Last year's Winner
2013 - Jaco Van Zyl
What will it take to win the Investec Cup?
Although fairly long and generously wide, winners at the Lost City are certainly not all bombers and last year's two course winners - Van Zyl in this event and Adilson Da Silva in the Sun City Challenge are far from renowned big hitters - quite the opposite in fact.
They play well at short, fiddly tracks where accuracy is the name of the game so while length is advantageous, especially after a recent wet spell, don't assume it's a big-hitters' paradise.
Is there an angle in?
The Lost City course has been used for a number of other events so check out the Sun City Challenge, which was played there in 2012 and 2013, the Nedbank Affinity Cup, a regular at the Lost City since 2007 and even the 2008 Klipdrift Gold Sun International pro-am.
To save you a bit of time, in addition to the aforementioned Van Zyl and Da Silva - Trevor Fisher Jnr, Warren Abery, Jacques Blaauw and Jake Roos are the other four course winners in the line-up and Hennie Otto, who lost a playoff to Van Zyl after a final round 62, Justin Walters, Merrick Bremner, Ulrich Van Den Berg and Andrew Curlewis have all finished inside the top-three here at one time or another.
Having analysed previous events at the Lost City course, it's a confusing picture. The last four course winners were all in front with a round to go but Otto reached a playoff having been six back last year in this event and if we go back a few years, two men have won from as far as five back and one man from four back with just a round to go.
It will all depend who's leading come Sunday morning but with so much at stage, one of the lesser lights could be vulnerable to a late charge.
George Coetzee heads the market and rightly so. He's the class-act in what can only be described as a mediocre line-up and he's been in fine fettle of late too. He's played the Lost City twice before, finishing 6th in the 2007 edition of the Affinity Cup and 5th a year later.
I wouldn't want to put anyone off George but I'm going to wait before the off. I quite fancy he could be a nice play come Sunday if he's four or five back.
I'm nowhere near as keen on second favourite and Investec Cup leader, Ross Fisher. He won the Tshwane Open in impressive fashion but he disappointed last week in Morocco on a course that should have been ideal and I'd want a bigger price than 8.88/1 considering he's never played here before.
Hennie Otto has to come into the reckoning but I can't forget his collapse at the South African Open a few months back and I'm more than happy to pass him by.
I wasn't convinced I'd find a wager before the off here but I quite like Justin Walters at 29.028/1 on the Sportsbook.
Walters has already finished inside the top-ten here in his last three starts, including a fast-finishing third in this event 12 months ago and he's enjoyed a great season on the European Tour, having finished runner-up in Portugal to retain his playing privileges, as well as at the Joburg Open in February.
He's been off the boil a bit since but he looks a fair price to me, especially if you like to play each-way.
Justin Walters @ 29.028/1 (Sportsbook)
I'll be back on Friday with the In-Play Blog with a look back at round one of this event and of the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which I preview here.
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