European Tour Golf Betting: Schwartzel Raring To Go At Leopard Creek

One man completely dominates at Leopard Creek and home native Charl Schwartzel - 9.00 - is raring to go again at the top of the betting.

A quick look at his stats from last year - where he made it a hat-trick of wins in this event - shows that a competent all round display was the basis of his success.

We will see many new graduates and players making their official tour bows this week and I'm especially interested in Byeong Hun An - 81.00 - who will potentially fall into the all round specialist category in time.


The course - Leopard Creek

An aesthetical treat awaits as the Alfred Dunhill kicks off the the first full field event of the 2015 season and as mentioned, all aspects of your game will be tested: "You need to drive the ball well around here" is a quote from former champion Garth Mulroy - 61.00 - re Leopard Creek which plays over 7,300 yards, comprising average width fairways but devilish Kikuyu rough.

Garth owned the second lowest stroke average here from 2010 - 2012. The Leopard Creek course winds through forest, bush and grasslands adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Water hazards are a feature throughout and green complexes are some of the best the players will see all year round. Wildlife is a feature this week, especially if Tony Johnstone is about and the famous "Harry the Hippo" is sure to get some camera time. The signature island-green final hole is one that has caused carnage in the past so it's not over until it's over.

Three from the pack

Hennie Otto - 31.00 or 7.00 - was right in contention here last year on the Sunday only to capitulate and succumb to a final 18 of 77, yet he still managed to record a top 25. I always like to look out for this sort of hidden form that doesn't show in the bottom line statistics and the South African native - who was relentless is taking down the Italian Open this year - is showing progressive form of 53 - 19 - 21, culminating in a 2nd place finish in Cape Town last week. Otto is a different beast on home soil.

"Only four players have a better stroke average at the Alfred Dunhill Championship over the last few years" was what I said about South African JBe Kruger - 41.00 or  9.00 - pre last year's Alfred Dunhill installment. I also mentioned some swing changes had been holding him back in 2013 but Kruger comes here this year just about to hit top gear. JB excels on home soil and combining recent current and course form, he has five top 10s from six.

One from left field now and Irishman Kevin Phelan - 151.0 or 26.00 - posted a top 25 at Leopard Creek on his debut last season. The Irishman sneaked in for a 3rd place finish in Hong Kong a few weeks back and carded a T35 at the Perth International where emphasis was on tee to green play. Phelan also performed at the Beko Classic pro-am in Turkey last week, finishing T6 but he put in his best round (-6) on the much more difficult Old Course so his game is in great shape returning to a venue he is now familiar with. 


Thailand Golf Championship

The Asian Tour's Thailand Golf Championship hosts the fourth edition of the event this week and attracts a number of world class stars. Famed for it's island green par 3 17th - arguably more visually intimidating and tougher to navigate than at TPC Sawgrass - Amata Spring is a regular venue for Open Championship qualifying. This year there will also be four Open Championship places added to the event in question. 

It's another Irishman on the radar here and Darren Clarke - 126.00 or 23.00 - tied for 6th with Phelan last week in the Beko Classic. He went about his business in a different manner though, carding more birdies than any player, but one, and shooting two rounds of 64 on the New Course in the process. Amata Spring offers up a lot of birdies and Darren - who has two appearances here including a top 25 - may continue where he left off. Clarke has an early tee time so a fast start is a strong possibility.

Bet on the 2015 Masters winner now