We're off to South Africa in our quest for a monster-priced winner this week where Steve Rawlings has plumped for a pair of Englishmen with eye-catching Spanish form...
"This is David Horsey’s first visit to Leopard Creek since 2012 and I suspect it's the course changes that have lured him back."
With no PGA Tour action this week, we're left with only the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa to study in search of a big-priced winner or market mover and historically, we'd have been up against it.
Home favourites, Ernie Els, Branden Grace, Brandon Stone and Charl Schwartzel (four times!) have all won the event at odds far below 100/1 but there was a huge change to the course in 2017 (detailed in the preview) and the two winners since have both been outsiders.
Since the course was toughened up, David Lipsky has won having been matched at a high of 340.0339/1 before the off and Pablo Larrazabal took the title 12 months ago, having been matched at 80.079/1. At both editions, a number of massive outsiders have been placed and another monster-priced winner is perfectly plausible. I've picked out a couple and there's one honorary mention...
Ride Horsey to profit
As highlighted in the preview, the course is a very different beast to the one that saw the likes of Schwartzel, Grace and Stone gallop to victory with 20-under-par and lower winning scores. Last year's champ, Pablo Larrazabal, finished the event at -8 and it's more about saving pars than banging in birdies now.
With that in mind, it's perhaps not surprising to see that form at the European Tour's toughest venue, Valderrama, appears to correlate nicely and as many as four players that finished inside the top-ten and ties at the Andalucía Masters there in September finished inside the top-11 here last December - Will Besseling, Justin Harding, Connor Syme and Johannes Veerman.
What's really striking about that crossover is the calibre of the players that have fared well at the two venues and how seldomly they perform that well.
Those two top-seven finishes are two of only four top-tens achieved by Harding in the last 12 months and Besseling's third in Spain is one of only two top-tens since he was third here last year. Since finishing 11th here, Syme has had a decent 2020 and his eighth-placed finish at Valderrama is one five top-tens (from 18 starts) and Veerman hasn't fared too bad either. His tenth in Spain was one of three top-tens this year (from 15 starts), but it looks like a good angle in and one I've considered with both picks.
And first up is David Horsey, who's missed cut last time out is most misleading.
Horsey, who was tied for tenth at Valderrama, has been in decent form this year and in addition to that effort, he's finished 14th in the British Masters, sixth at the Celtic Classic, 14th in the Scottish Open and 13th at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. There have been a few poor efforts thrown in as well but his missed cut in Cyprus last time out wasn't one of them. He sat tied for fifth and just two off the lead after rounds of 67 and 65 but missed out on Sunday's Showdown after a 70 on Saturday saw him miss the second cut after the scores were all reset after round two.
This is Horsey's first visit to Leopard Creek since 2012 and I suspect it's the course changes that have lured him back.
Green up with Brown
Steven Brown finished alongside Horsey in Spain and he finished ninth in the Cyprus Showdown after a lacklustre Sunday but he looks over-priced at 180.0179/1 given it's not much more than a year since he won the Portugal Masters and that he's gained more than six strokes putting in each of his last two starts.
A disappointing weekend at the Joburg Open saw him slip to 61st last week (having sat tied for 21st after round two) but this looks like it may prove to be a more suitable test and he shot three level par 72s and a 73 when he played here for the one and only time two years ago. He only finished 47th so it wasn't a hugely encouraging debut but it's worth highlighting how poorly he was playing at the time as he missed his next seven cuts.
Keep an eye on Kawamura
Although he missed the cut at the Joburg, I thought Japan's Masahiro Kawamura looked a terrific fit and he'd have been a pick had his price not moved into 95.094/1. He was 18th here on debut, eighth at Valderrama in September and he was also second in the Indian Open last year. That tournament was staged at the DLF Golf and Country Club and there are a number of form lines suggesting that track my correlate nicely too.
*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter
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Back Steven Brown 1u @ 180.0179/1
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