The Punter's In-Play Blog: Close pals poised to fight out the finish

Golfer Charl Schwartzel
Charl Schwartzel in action at Leopard Creek on Friday

There's just one round to go at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and two veterans have eased clear of the rest...

  • Louis seeking his first Alfred Dunhill title

  • Schwartzel in the hunt for win number five

  • Can anyone catch the leading pair?

17:30 - December 9, 2023

There's just one round to go at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and experienced South African pair, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, have eased five clear of the rest. Here's the 54-hole leaderboard with prices to back at 17:20.

Louis Oosthuizen -15 2.0621/20
Charl Schwartzel -15 2.588/5
Christiaan Bezuidenhout -10 22.021/1
Andy Sullivan -10 44.043/1
Ashun Wu -9 110.0109/1
Marco Penge -9 130.0129/1
Matti Schmid -8 110.0109/1
-8 and 150.0149/1 bar

Pre-event 20.019/1 chance, Louis Oosthuizen, was matched at a low of 1.84/5 on his way to posting today's course record equalling nine-under-par 63 around Leopard Creek but his good friend, Charl Schwartzel, posted a six-under-par 31 on the back-nine to draw alongside him and it's hard to envisage anyone else getting a look in now given the two are five clear of the rest.

Schwartzel was a 48.047/1 chance before the off and given he's in search of his fifth Alfred Dunhill title, those odds now look huge.

Oosthuizen heads the market with just 18 to play but he's in search of his first victory at Leopard Creek.

Louis Oosthuizen at the Open 2021.jpg

As highlighted in the preview, nine of the last 12 winners were leading or tied for the lead with a round to go and although there are two tied at the top, given they lead the rest by five, it's perhaps worth looking at the record of five-stroke leaders on the DP World Tour.

The last man to lead by five on the DP World Tour was Brian Harman at the Open Championship in July and he was the 12th in-a-row to convert so it doesn't look great for the chasers.

Overall, since 1997, five-stroke leaders on the DP World Tour have an 85% strike rate but it might just be worth mentioning that the last player to fail to convert such a lead was Schwartzel.

He led the South African Open by five in 2015 but shot 74 in round four before eventually losing a playoff to Andy Sullivan, who had trailed by seven after 54 holes. Could that be an omen?

I'm not convinced it is but Sullivan will remember it fondly and he won't be giving up without a fight.

It's very hard to see the front two messing up but I'm not a huge fan of either in-contention and they do have to back up today's super low rounds.

The 2020 winner, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who will be in the final three-ball alongside Oosty and Charl, is no bigger than 16/117.00 on the High Street, and Sullivan is no bigger than 33/134.00, so I'm happy to throw a few pounds at those two at 24.023/1 and 44.043/1 respectively just in case the front two both get jittery.

18:40 - December 8, 2023

The hattrick seeking pre-event favourite, Dean Burmester, was matched at just 5.14/1 to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship as he looked to be making a big move this morning but after a birdie at the drivable par four sixth to get to two-under for the round and five-under for the tournament, he played the next three holes in four over-par!

Burmester won the South African Open having made the cut on the number last week, so he won't be giving up just yet but trailing by eight in a tie for 38th, he's got his work cut out again.

Casey Jarvis leads by just a stroke and he's the narrow favourite in what's a wide-open market. Here's the latest state of play with prices to back at 18:30.

Casey Jarvis -10 7.87/1
Marco Penge -9 13.012/1
Charl Schwartzel -8 8.615/2
Christo Lamprecht -8 14.5
Paul Waring -8 14.5
Robin Williams -8 46.045/1
Andy Sullivan -7 21.020/1
Manuel Elvira -7 28.027/1
Sam Bairstow -7 55.054/1
Kyle Barker -7 100.099/1
Christiaan Bezuidenhout -6 14.013/1
Erik Van Rooyen -6 14.5
Louis Oosthuizen -6 14.5
Jayden Schaper -6 22.021/1
-6 and 50.049/1 bar

As highlighted in the preview, seven of the last nine winners of the Alfred Dunhill Championship have been in front at halfway but I'm in no rush to back the frontrunner this time around.

Jarvis sat second at this stage last week, trailing by just one, but rounds of 77 and 76 over the weekend saw him finish tied for 52nd and that's off-putting.

He may well have learnt from the experience and he's a winner on the Challenge Tour, as well as the Big Easy Tour in his homeland, but I'm happy to swerve him at less than 7/18.00 given how packed the leaderboard is.

The four-time tournament winner, Charl Schwartzel, is a very obvious danger but although he won on the LIV Golf Tour last year, he hasn't won on the DP World Tour since 2016, and he stumbled today when he hit the front, bogeying 13 and 14 having been matched at less than 3/14.00.

Although 36-hole leaders have a great record, the last two winners (Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Ockie Strydom) trailed by six and seven strokes at halfway so a slow start can be overcome and I'm happy to sit on my hands for now and see what happens on Moving Day.

16:40 - December 7, 2023

Pre-event pick, Thriston Lawrence, began his first round at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at the 10th hole when most of us in the UK were all tucked up in bed and the in-form South African began the round well.

Birdies at 10 and 11 were followed by a run of four pars, another two birdies at 16 and 17, and an eagle three at the par five 18th.

He was matched at a low of 4.84/1 and had there been more people around he may well have traded even lower but after his six-under par 31 on the back-nine, the wheels fell off and he shot a seven-over-par 42 on the front-nine!

Lawrence now sits tied for 85th and eight off the lead and he looks to have far too much to do.

Last year's winner, Ockie Strydom, sat tied for eighth and just three off the lead after round one and six of the last nine winners were inside the top-four after day one so concentrating on the leaders makes sense.

The well-fancied pre-event 33/134.00 chance, Jayden Schaper, now narrowly heads the market following an impressive six-under-par 66 which sees him trail the early pacesetter, pre-event 1000.0999/1 chance, Robin Williams, by a stroke but with the hattrick-seeking, Dean Burmester, on -3, and the 2020 winner, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, on -4, it's 9/110.00 the field with three rounds to go and a tough event to call.

The best any of the afternoon starters could muster was -5 and one of the late starters to post 67 to sit tied for fourth was the big-hitting amateur, Christo Lamprecht, who did a great job at demonstrating that Rory McIlroy may have a point about rolling back the golf ball with this ridiculous drive on the par five 18th!

This really does look a tough tournament to untangle at this early stage but as highlighted in the preview, the Spanish have a really good record at Leopard Creek, so I'm happy to add the Challenge Tour graduate, Manuel Elvira (the younger brother to Nacho), to the portfolio after his six-under-par 66 this morning.

Pre-Event Picks:
Dean Burmester @ 10.09/1
Thriston Lawrence @ 24.023/1

In-Play Picks:
Manuel Elvira @ 27.026/1
Christiaan Bezeidenhout @ 24.023/1
Andy Sullivan @ 44.043/1

Find Me a 100 Winner Selections:
1.5u Ryan Van Velzen @ 200.0199/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
1.5u Dale Whitnell @ 220.0219/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
1.5u Deon Germishuys @ 250.0249/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
1u Joakim Lagergren @ 330.0329/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1
1u Angel Hidalgo @ 420.0419/1
Place order to lay 8u @ 10.09/1 & 12u @ 2.01/1

*You can follow me on Twitter @SteveThePunter

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Prices quoted in copy are correct at time of publication but liable to change.

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