Jonsson Workwear Open: Back Robin Williams to overcome doubts at 64/1

After Jordan Gumberg's surprise win in the SDC Championship on Sunday, the DP World Tour remains in South Africa for the third edition of the Jonsson Workwear Open and Steve has the lowdown ahead of Thursday's start here...

  • Look to last week for clues

  • Accurate iron-play clearly a plus

  • Read my Arnold Palmer Invitational preview here


  • Tournament History

    The first edition of the Jonsson Workwear Open was co-sanctioned between the Challenge Tour and the Sunshine Tour and it was staged more than two years ago at Durban Country Club and last year's renewal was staged at the Club at Steyn City but we're taking in another new venue for the third edition - Glendower Country Club.

    Venue

    Glendower Country Club, Edenvale, Gauteng, South Africa.

    Course Details

    Par 72, 7542 yards

    The Glendower Golf Club was designed by C.H Alison in 1937. It's a classic tree-lined parkland course with Kikuyu fairways and rough and gently undulating bentgrass greens.

    Glendower is well-bunkered, with a total of 64 - 27 on the front and 37 on the back - and water is in play on 11 holes. Although its yardage is more than 7,500 yards, Glendower doesn't play anywhere that long because it's at altitude.

    GLENDOWER 2024 1.jpg Former Ryder cup captain, Paul McGinley, had this to say about the venue. "It's one of the best I've ever played, very visual, really well bunkered and extremely well set up. We don't get to play on many traditional courses anymore. I could see this as a real potential venue for a US Open if it was in America."

    Glendower was the venue for the Fortress Invitational on the Sunshine Tour in October last year and it hosted the South African Open in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

    It also hosted the Sunshine Tour Championship in 2020, six editions of the BMG Classic on the Sunshine Tour, between 2009 and 2014, and it's also been used on the Big Easy Tour but all those events were staged over 54 holes.


    Weather Forecast


    TV Coverage

    Live on Sky Sports all four days, starting at 10:00 on Thursday.

    First Two Tournament Winners

    2022 - J.C Ritchie -26 (Durna CC)

    2023 - Nick Bachem -25 (Steyn City)

    What Will it Take to Win the J'son W'wear Open?

    To give us an idea of the sort of skillset required to win at Glendower, here are the traditional stats for last year's winner of the Fortress Invitational and for the last five winners of the South African Open here.

    • 2023 - Robin Williams DD - 8 DA - 21 GIR - 1 SC - 5 PA - 12
    • 2018 - Chris Paisley DD - 57 DA - 48 GIR - 9 SC - 2 PA - 2
    • 2017 - Graeme Storm DD - 18 DA - 10 GIR - 22 SC - 4 PA - 3
    • 2016 - Brandon Stone DD - 8 DA - 33 GIR - 9 SC - 46 PA - 3
    • 2015 - Andy Sullivan DD - 9 DA - 23 GIR - 9 SC - 15 PA - 1
    • 2014 - Morten Orum Madsen DD - 9 DA - 32 GIR - 4 SC - 13 PA - 17

    DD - Driving Distance

    DA - Driving Accuracy

    GIR - Greens In Regulation

    SC - Scrambling

    PA - Putting Accuracy

    We've seen four winners ranked inside the top-ten for Driving Distance but I'm not sure I'd favour that over Driving Accuracy given the course is tree-lined.

    Graeme Storm is the only one of the six course winners to rank outside the top-ten for Greens In Regulation so accurate iron play is clearly a big plus and four of the six winners have ranked highly for putting and Branden Stone is the only one of the six that didn't have impressive Scrambling numbers.

    I've no idea how the course played last year but conditions varied over the five years that it staged the South African Open and as a result the winning scores differed somewhat.

    We had rain in the run-up in 2017 so the course was fairly soft but prior to Chris Paisley's win at -21, Glendower played at its easiest in 2014 when Morten Orum Madsen managed to get it to 19-under-par.

    Chris Paisley 1280.jpg

    The rough was up in 2015 when Andy Sullivan beat Charl Schwartzel in a playoff after both finished on -11 and rain had softened the course before the off in 2016 too but with no more rain, the greens soon sped up as the week wore on, creating fast and tricky conditions. Stone won with a 14-under-par total.

    When staging the South African Open, we've seen Glendower with the rough down and the rough up and we've seen it soft, and we've seen it fast, but the winner's stats have been consistent.

    Is There an Angle In?

    Outsiders have prevailed here in the South African Open of late with the last three winners going off at 60.059/1, 180.0179/1 and 400.0399/1.

    Andy Sullivan, who was matched at 130.0129/1 when he trailed seven with a round to go in 2015, having led through rounds one and two, was a 36.035/1 chance so he wasn't massively fancied before the off either but it's interesting to note is that the four players to finish second here - Branden Grace, Rory McIlroy, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Schwartzel - are all straight out of the top drawer so the cream has (almost) risen to the top here.

    And if we go a little further back, when Glendower hosted the South African Open in 1997 (the last time it hosted before 2013), Vijay Singh beat Nick Price by a stroke. Both are multiple major winners that have been inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

    Look to Last Week for Clues

    Last week's SDC Championship may well be the best place to start for clues this week given form between the two tracks appears to crossover well.

    andy sullivan golfer june 2021.jpg

    Glendower winner, Andy Sullivan, sat third with a round to go and the last man to win here, Robin Williams, was matched at a low of just 1.121/8 before getting beat in extra time.

    In-Play Tactics

    The last five course winners all led with a round to go but we've witnessed plenty of drama here and it's not an easy place to make the running.

    Graeme Storm eventually beat Rory McIlroy at the third extra hole in 2017, having led by three through 54 holes, and the 2016 winner, Brandon Stone, won the event having been two strokes clear after three rounds, but this is most certainly somewhere to oppose the leaders and anyone that hits odds-on.

    When Graham DeLaet won the first of the six 54-hole BMG Classics held at Glendower, in 2009, he sat in a three-way tie for the lead with 18 holes to play but in the seven subsequent tournaments held here, prior to Stone's success in 2016, no leader with a round to go went on to went on to win and some big leads were relinquished.

    Charl Schwartzel has led the South African Open twice here without winning and on the second occasion, in 2015, he led by five with a round to go and was matched at 1.011/100 in-running!

    In addition to Schwartzel, Hennie Otto, Jbe Kruger, George Coetzee, Branden Grace and Rory all came close to winning the South African Open but they've all messed up at the business end of the event.

    Rory led by a stroke with two to play and he was matched at just 1.192/11 before he bogeyed the penultimate hole and in 2016, Grace traded at odds-on as early as Friday!

    Daniel Brooks also went on odds-on that year, hitting a low of 1.814/5 when it looked like Stone had blown it during round four, so trading the short-priced players and laying the odds-on shots could prove a profitable strategy, as it so often is on this Tour.

    Market Leaders

    The four-time DP World Tour winner, Thriston Lawrence, heads the market but he looks short enough given his course and current form.

    The 27-year-old South African played nicely enough at the SDC Championship over the weekend to grab a share of 10th place having sat in a tie for 55th at halfway but that was his first strong finish since January.

    Thriston lawrence at the South African Open.jpg

    Having ended 2023 with four top-11 finishes, Lawrence kicked off 2024 with a tied second at the inaugural Dubai Invitational but his form figures since haven't been great, reading MC-MC-49-19-10.

    This is Lawrence's fifth visit to Glendower and he's yet to post a round in the 60s here, producing course form figures reading MC-MC-43-15.

    After his disappointing missed cut last week, fellow South African, Zander Lombard, makes even less appeal.

    That was a very poor performance given how well he'd been playing prior to that (six top-16 finishes in-a-row) and he could very easily bounce back but he has Glendower form figures reading MC-MC-12-MC-MC and he's far from reliable in-contention.

    Tom McGibbon and Ewen Ferguson are both playing here for the first time but both should enjoy the type of test, but others are preferred.

    Selection

    It's never easy to bounce back after a playoff defeat , and it's even harder if you only found yourself in extra-time because of a double bogey at the penultimate hole, so Robin Tiger Williams will need to lift himself quickly if he's to contend again this week.

    Williams was matched at just 1.121/8 with two holes to play at the SDC Championship before eventually losing to Jordan Gumberg at the second extra hole.

    As a result of that, Williams is bound to be feeling a bit deflated but he's young and good enough to rebound in style.

    The 22-year-old, who's named after the great man himself, won the last event to be staged here - the Fortress Invitational last year - by as many as six strokes, so we know the venue suits him and last week's second place finish didn't come out of the blue.

    Back Robin Williams @ 65.064/1

    Bet now

    He'd finished third in the Dimension Data and 11th in the NMB Championship on the Sunshine Tour in his two previous starts.


    Read My Arnold Palmer Invitational preview here


    *You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter


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