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Joburg Open Preview: South Africans looking to star on home soil

The new DP World Tour Championship season starts this week and South Africans dominate the betting for the Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club.

What: Joburg Open 
Where: Houghton Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa 
When: Thursday 24th November - Sunday 27th 2022 
How to watch: Sky Sports Main Event and Golf 
Odds: Christiaan Bezuidenhout 7/1, George Coetzee 12/1, Thirston Lawrence 14/1, Hennie du Plessis 18/1, Oliver Bekker 22/1

Rory McIlroy won the DP World Tour Rankings title on Sunday - the Northern Irishman ending the year as European No. 1 for a fourth time - and the new DP World Tour season starts just a few days later.

McIlroy and Jon Rahm, who won the DP World Tour Championship last week, are both having a rest, so this week provides a chance for the circuit's lesser-lights to star, with a host of South African youngsters hoping to make the most of an opportunity in their homeland.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the world number 74, is the highest-ranked player in the Joburg Open.

Bezuidenhout, who made his Presidents Cup debut in September and beat Kevin Kisner in the Sunday singles, has won three DP World Tour titles. Two of those victories came in South Africa and it is no surprise that he tops the Joburg Open betting at 7/1.

Bezuidenhout was a four-shot winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in November 2020, then he won the South African Open by five shots a week later.

The 28-year-old will be looking forward to teeing up in Johannesburg this week, having finished fifth in the Nedbank Challenge last time out.

Thriston Lawrence, who is 90th in the world rankings, is also a popular choice this week. Lawrence was a 225/1 chance when he won last year's Joburg Open, but he is just 14/1 for a successful title defence.

The 25-year-old has since won the European Masters at Crans-sur-Sierre, becoming a regular contender on the DP World Tour, proving that his Joburg Open triumph was no fluke.

George Coetzee has won two of the last three tournaments he has played in South Africa, so the porky Pretorian will catch the eye of many at 12/1.

Standard each-way terms of a quarter the odds the first five places are available for the Joburg Open, with alternative options, like a fifth the odds the first eight, on offer in the Each Way Extra section.

Joburg Open course details

Houghton Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa, is a 7,153-yard, par-72, with four par-fives, 10 par-fours and four par-threes.

It is an old venue, opened in 1926, and hosted the South African PGA Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The course was sold, though, completely redesigned by Jack Nicklaus, and re-opened in 2009.

The only significant course form since the redesign is the Sunshine Tour Qualifying School in 2019 and 2020.

This is the first time Houghton has staged the Joburg Open.

This is a short track, given it is played at altitude in the Highveld, and birdies should be freely available.

Sunny and warm conditions are forecast for the first two days, with temperatures cooling slightly at the weekend. A gentle breeze is expected throughout.

As with most Nicklaus designs, accurate iron-play is essential to greens heavily guarded by bunkers.

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Five players to look out for on the 2023 DP World Tour

PGA Tour: Five to look out for in 2022/23

Three to follow

Jayden Schaper

The 40/1 about Jayden Schaper may attract the eye of regular watchers of the Sunshine Tour. The local lad was the best junior in South Africa for many a moon, then enjoyed a superb amateur career, which featured sixth place in the South African Open at the start of 2020.

Regular leaderboard appearances on the Sunshine Tour followed that amazing effort, then he went close to a DP World Tour success again when finishing second in the Alfred Dunhill Championship. A Sunday 75 meant a near-miss, but Schaper again advertised his huge potential. He was tenth in the 2020 Sunshine Tour Q School at this track.

Oliver Hundeboll

Punters seeking bigger prices may want to consider the 90/1 about Oliver Hundeboll - a Danish 23-year-old who appears to be rapidly growing in confidence.

Hundeboll won a Challenge Tour event in South Africa in March, then finished fourth in another CT event in the same country a few weeks later. Fifth place in the DP World Tour's Hero Open in July showed this rising star could perform in the higher grade as well.

Casey Jarvis

The 200/1 about Casey Jarvis could look full of juice if this 19-year-old starlet settles in the early rounds. Jarvis won 18 tournaments in an incredible amateur career, turning pro in August with the world at his feet.

He won back-to-back South African Amateur titles in 2021 and this year, and last time out on the Sunshine Tour he finished runner-up in the South African PGA Championship.

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