The South African Open is off and running and our man's already picked out a couple of in-play wagers. Read his opening in-running thoughts for the week here...
The first round of the South African Open has finished and the cream has already risen to the top with pre-event favourite, Louis Oosthuizen, showing the way after shooting a nine-under-par 62 around the Bushwillow this morning.
Although Oosthuizen leads by one, last week's winner, Kurt Kitayama, is only one behind, after he shot an eight-under-par 63 around the more difficult Firethorn and he gets to play the Bushwillow Course in the morning. The Firethorn averaged 72.9 today and the Bushwillow only 70.35 so that's a sizable differential of more than two and half strokes.
I backed Kitayama in-running today at 16.00 and I'm glad I did. He was really impressive last week and looks like one for the future. He could easily bounce tomorrow (I've seen a few winners play well in round one the week after they've won but then struggle) but I he's arguably the one in front given the scoring differential. We haven't seen anyone win consecutive events on the European Tour since Justin Rose did it more than a year ago but it's interesting to note that the last person to win the Mauritius Open at the Four Seasons, Jeunghun Wang in May 2016, had won the week before in Morocco. Maybe Kitayama will win the week after?
I've also had a very small bet on Zander Lombard, who also played the tougher Firethorn today. He trails Oosthuizen by two.
Of my pre-event picks, Matt Wallace has started okay, shooting six-under around the Bushwillow Course to sit tied for fifth and three off the lead and Tapio Pulkkanen was also doing okay there but he finished bogey-double-bogey-par to fall from -5 to -2. And my other pick, Grant Forrest, looks out of it already after a disappointing one-over-par around Bushwillow.
The QBE Shootout doesn't start until tomorrow, and I've previewed the event here, but I have now got a couple of pairings onside - see below.
South Africa Open Pre-Event Selections: Matt Wallace @14.00 Tapio Pulkkanen @ 90.00 Grant Forrest @ 160.00
In-Play Picks: Kurt Katayama @16.00 Zander Lombard @ 26.00