Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Alfred Dunhill Championship Tips 2020

Get Paul's previews as soon as they're published @golfbetting Follow Now

After last week’s blank in Johannesburg, let’s hope a move to the stunning Leopard Creek with its renowned backdrop of the Kruger National Park sparks some life into the players I’ve backed this week.

Congratulations if you picked out JB Hansen at Randpark as he produced a bogey-free round on Sunday to capitalise on Wilco Neinaber’s late stumble, with the South African having led by 3 with just 9 holes to play. It’s fair to say that Hansen has had more than his fair share of stumbles with the winning post in sight in the past, however not this time and 40/1 was the reward if you had stuck with the Dane.

As the DP World Tour Championship edges closer and players jostle for position ahead of the final cut after next week’s double-header on the European Tour, so the quality of field has begun to edge upwards. Notable additions to the field compared to last week include recent winners Robert Macintyre and George Coetzee, defending champion Pablo Larrazabal and players of the quality of Jorge Campillo, Matthias Schwab and Eddie Pepperell to mention but a few.

boylesports Alfred Dunhill Championship  – Featured Bookmaker: Boylesports are attacking this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship, offering an industry-best 8 places each-way at 1/5 odds on the outright market, with strong prices to boot. If you haven’t already got a Boylesports account then new customers can access their new customer offer using the link below:

✅ Up to £25 in free bets for new UK customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Boylesports sign up offer page
✅ Regularly extending full-field PGA Tour events to 8 places each-way in 2020
✅ Offered 10 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship, US Open & Masters

Boylesports UK New Customer Offer: 18+. UK Customers (Excluding NI) only. Cash stakes only. Min £10 stake required for initial £5 free bet. Min odds ½. Max £25 in free bets. Subsequent free bets equal 50% average of each 3 qualifying bets. 13 bets required to receive full £25 free bet. Qualifying bet must be placed within 30 days of opening account. Cashed out bets will not qualify towards your average stake. One free bet offer per customer, household or IP address only. Free bet expires after 7 days. Payment method restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #Ad

bet365 In-Play Shot Tracking With bet365

In a major step forward on the European Tour, bet365 have now integrated play-by-play shot tracking into both their app and website. Gone are the days of guessing where your player is in terms of the hole they’re playing on the European Tour, simply click the golf flag icon when in the bet365 in-play market to keep right up to date:

bet365 in play betting

bet365 in play

If you’re new to bet365 then their latest new customer offer is detailed below:

✅ Up to £100 In Bet Credits for new customers
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship & US Open & Masters

bet365 New Customer Offer: Up to £100 in Bet Credits. New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code SPORT100 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Course Overview. Leopard Creek is one of the most recognisable tracks on the European Tour circuit with its close proximity to Kruger National Park and it always lodges in the memory due to the wildlife which shares the area including crocodiles, lions and the odd hippo thrown in for good measure.

The 7,249 yard par 72 has been used for this event since the latter end of 2004 so there’s plenty of course history to peruse this week, however the eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that there are no stats for 2017 and that’s because the course was closed for a major renovation.

The entire course was re-turfed as part of an 8-month project, with the Kikuyu fairways replaced by Bermudagrass and the greens re-laid as G-12 Champion Bermuda. A number of bunkers were repositioned too to make the course a little more straightforward for the casual golfer on the landing areas for mere mortals, however for the professionals that’s not really helped make the track any easier from what we’ve seen thus far.

The net effect of this has made the fairways firmer and faster than previously, particularly when the weather is dry, and the greens can now get up to 12 and beyond on the Stimpmeter. Combined with some lush rough last year and a little bit of a breeze, Pablo Larrazabal’s winning total was just 8-under par.

alfred dunhill championship tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship that will help to shape a view on players who traditionally play well at this event. Current Form | Tournament Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined Event Stats.

Predictor Model. Our published Predictor Model is available here. As always you can build your own model using the variables available.

Weather Forecast. The latest weather forecast for the area is here. The oppressive heat of the practice days will dissipate a little for the 4 days of tournament play, with temperatures dipping from over 100 Fahrenheit to the mid-80s.

Winds are expected to be light at 5-12mph and the threat of thunderstorms has dropped since the initial forecast last week, so if it stays relatively dry then the course should play pretty firm and fast.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors. Stats from the last 5 Alfred Dunhill Championships held here give us a little insight into the type of player who might succeed at Leopard Creek:

  • 2019, Pablo Larrazabal (-8). 319 yards (23rd), 44.6% fairways (27th), 77.8% greens in regulation (3rd), 43.8% scrambling (32nd), 1.68 putts per GIR (2nd)
  • 2018, David Lipsky (-14). 306 yards (33rd), 48.2% fairways (64th), 65.3% greens in regulation (53rd), 52.0% scrambling (16th), 1.68 putts per GIR (4th)
  • 2016, Brandon Stone (-22). 318 yards (6th), 64.3% fairways (13th), 77.8% greens in regulation (11th), 62.5% scrambling (6th), 1.68 putts per GIR (19th)
  • 2015, Charl Schwartzel (-15). 300 yards (22nd), 44.6% fairways (46th), 81.9% greens in regulation (2nd), 53.8% scrambling (29th), 1.69 putts per GIR (11th)
  • 2014, Branden Grace (-20). 314 yards (7th), 64.3% fairways (33rd), 79.2% greens in regulation (9th), 53.3% scrambling (19th), 1.68 putts per GIR (9th)

Hitting fairways has never been particularly straightforward at Leopard Creek and the 2 year-old Bermuda fairways are typically firm and fast unless there’s been a lot of rain. Essentially that means accuracy stats are low and both David Lipsky and Pablo Larrazabal triumphed despite finding the short stuff less than half of the time.

Finding greens from wherever the ball ends up is a big part of the equation here as is putting, which despite the change from Bent to Bermudagrass greens has hardly deviated in terms of the required putting average over the past few years.

Incoming Form: The wins for Charl Schwartzel here were all fairly straightforward given his incoming form combined with his course form, which is detailed fully a little further down the list, and it wouldn’t have taken much to make a case for him on any of the occasions where he won.

Outside of those wins for Charl, Larrazabal finished 14th at the Portugal Masters and 7th at the Porsche European Open in recent events to hint at a little bit of form and prior to that Lipsky sat 11th at halfway in Hong Kong and 12th into Sunday before finishing 45th, although that fact would have been masked somewhat by his subsequent missed cuts.

Brandon Stone had finished 2nd at the Cape Town Open the week before winning here in 2016 and was perhaps a little easier to find, and Branden Grace had finished 9th at the Earth Course in Dubai on his penultimate start. Even Pablo Martin’s form when defending wasn’t way off the charts, having finished 6th at Vilamoura and 16th at Sheshan on his last start prior to defending here in 2010:

  • Pablo Larrazabal: 26/MC/72/MC/7/MC/MC/33/MC/14/69/48
  • David Lipsky: 13/50/MC/35/MC/63/MC/34/22/45/MC/MC
  • Brandon Stone: MC/MC/55/10/68/MC/MC/MC/52/69/59/2
  • Charl Schwartzel: 10/68/31/37/3/MC/19/MC/6/50/35/4
  • Branden Grace: 36/23/46/MC/MC/46/25/21/16/19/9/13
  • Charl Schwartzel: 15/28/21/MC/25/22/8/29/7/1/29/4
  • Charl Schwartzel: 59/14/24/47/28/66/MC/16/5/3/2/1
  • Garth Mulroy: MC/MC/MC/MC/MC/42/MC/3/18/21/12/37
  • Pablo Martin: MC/34/63/51/MC/23/MC/MC/6/MC/62/16

Course Form: David Lipsky aside, the other 8 winners here since 2010 each had some positive course form to their name prior to winning with Larrazabal, Stone, Grace and Mulroy having recorded a top-20 finish or better here in the past.

Pablo Martin successfully defended the title that he’d won here in 2009 on debut, whereas Charl Schwartzel’s record on this track is simply magnificent with 4 wins and 4 further runner-up finishes over the years:

  • Pablo Larrazabal: 40/MC/23/9
  • David Lipsky: Debut
  • Brandon Stone: 18
  • Charl Schwartzel: 11/19/1/2/2/MC/14/2/2/1/1/26
  • Branden Grace: MC/53/MC/MC/12
  • Charl Schwartzel: 11/19/1/2/2/MC/14/2/2/1
  • Charl Schwartzel: 11/19/1/2/2/MC/14/2/2
  • Garth Mulroy:65/21/12/MC
  • Pablo Martin: 1

Before the 2017 renovations, the equation here was reasonably straightforward in that players with a solid (or better) course record and some contending recent form simply had to be shortlisted. The course changes have made the track a different prospect though with the switch to Bermudagrass on the fairways and greens creating a different dynamic, with a fresh cast taking over at the top of leaderboards.

An ability to find greens from off the fairways is an advantage here and those who are more adept on firmer, faster Bermudagrass putting surfaces are also favoured. The par-3s are perhaps the most challenging part of the course now, however unless there’s a deluge prior to this or future events here, I suspect it will play and continue to play tougher all round than it used to before the updates.

Heat can also be a factor here – players were allowed to wear shorts for the first time on the European Tour here last year due to the extreme weather – and although the forecast appears to see temperatures drop a little from recent peaks, it’s still going to be hot enough for players to know about it.

My selections are as follows:

Jorge Campillo 2pts EW 60/1 (5EW, 1/4) with Ladbrokes

Some strong contenders have entered the fray here this week with Robert Macintyre heading the betting following his success in Cyprus on his last start, Brandon Stone contending last week and Christiaan Bezuidenhout producing a tidy finish in Joburg after returning from Augusta National, however I’m taking my chances a little further down the list this week.

Some indifferent, albeit distant, Leopard Creek form has kept the price about Jorge Campillo backable here this week given that he finished 3rd last time we saw him at the Cyprus Showdown, where all aspects of his game were firing once again.

That effort a fortnight ago was a welcome return to form for the Spaniard who will be more adept than most at tackling the heat around these parts. Following a promising August and September where Jorge had finished 8th at the Wales Open, 7th at the UK Championship, 17th at Valderrama and 8th at the Portugal Masters, his form tailed off in October so perhaps we’re seeing the start of another peak building as the season draws to a close.

4 efforts here at Leopard Creek between 2012-15 produced no better than a 41st place finish, although he was handily placed on his second visit, sitting 12th heading into the weekend. Crucially though, those efforts all pre-date the toughening up of the track and the change to Bermudagrass, which should suit the 34 year-old no end.

In terms of Bermuda greens, evidence is plentiful that Campillo enjoys putting on the surface. 2nd to Shubhankar Sharma at Saujana at the Maybank Championship in 2018 saw him putt at 1.69 putts per GIR which absolutely spot on for this event, and he’d previously topped the putting stats in the same event 2 years before at Royal Selangor on similar surfaces.

2nd at the Qatar Masters and 3rd at the Indian Open last year add further fuel to the fire and a top-10 in Abu Dhabi to his name from 2013 ties in nicely with last year’s winner Pablo Larrazabal who won that event the following  year. Success earlier this year on the Paspalum greens of Education City Golf Club which hosted the Qatar Masters shouldn’t be discounted completely either given how the surfaces played that that week,m and a 13-under winning total combined with the 9-under winning score from his previous success in Morocco would appear to be right in the target zone for this week’s event given what we saw last year. RESULT: MC

✅ Bet £/€5 Get £/€20 free bets for new customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Ladbrokes sign up offer page.
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Daily ‘Odds Boost’ available to use on your golf bets to enhance the advertised odds

Ladbrokes New Customer Offer: 18+ New UK+IRE customers. Paypal and certain deposit types and bet types excluded. Min £/€5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4 x £/€5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days on sports, stake not returned, no cashout. Restrictions apply. T&Cs apply. #Ad

Jamie Donaldson 2pts EW 50/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

The fact that Jamie Donaldson has added Leopard Creek to his schedule for the first time in his career tells us that he’s keen to be playing some golf at present and given the signs we’ve seen recently, a first win on the European Tour since 2014 and globally since 2015 may not be far away.

Once a world top-25 player and Ryder Cup winner to boot, the 45 year-old has struggled with injury and a loss of form over the past few years as he’s entered his forties. Since winning his most recent title in Thailand at the end of 2015, Jamie recorded just 6 top-10 finishes globally until the Covid lockdown, however since the re-start he’s been far more competitive.

15th at the Hero Open, 14th at the English Championship and 10th at Valderrama showed that he was heading in the right direction form-wise, and he backed that up with a 9th place finish at Fairmont St Andrews after a couple of mid-division finishes in Portugal.

Cyprus was where he really began to get the contending juices flowing though, with rounds of 65/65/69 giving him a share of the lead heading into the final day, eventually finishing 3rd, and he again performed well on the same track a week later, making the final day before the wheels eventually came off. Disappointing of course from his perspective, however having been involved at the business end of proceedings for a couple of weeks in succession before a fortnight’s break, he may well be ready for another assault of the leaderboard this week.

Given the tweaks and changes to the course here at Leopard Creek over the past few years, perhaps Donaldson’s lack of course form will be slightly less of a hindrance than it may have been in the past and in David Lipsky we have a case in point as he won here 2 years ago on competitive debut following the 2017 renovations.

Wider South African form includes 5 top-20 finishes and a runner-up effort at Sun City back in 2013, so I have little reason to think that he won’t enjoy his first time here, and with strong Bermudagrass green form over the years, including a win in Abu Dhabi to match that of defending champion Pablo Larrazabal, I fancy his chances here this week. RESULT: MC

✅ Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first bet loses & £10 casino bonus for new customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Unibet sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Strong odds on First Round Leader market

Unibet New Customer Offer: 18+ begambleaware.org. New customer only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad

Zander Lombard 1pt EW 80/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Watching JB Hansen complete a bogey-free final round to win his maiden European Tour title last week at Randpark was a stark reminder of the strange times that we find ourselves in. Not that I’ve got anything against the Dane and you’ve got to be impressed with the whole weekend that he produced in Johannesburg, however he’s certainly been guilty of playing some nervy and destructive shots when under pressure in the past.

Perhaps then the fact that times aren’t normal and golf is being played behind closed doors professionally is helping some players more than others, particularly those who may have struggled at the business end of events in the past at varying levels. Since lockdown we’ve seen career-rejuvenating wins for Marc Warren and Ross McGowan, breakthrough wins for Joel Stalter, Sam Horsfield, John Catlin, Garrick Higgo, Callum Shinkwin and Robert Macintrye, and a first strokeplay win for Adrian Otaegui – now you can’t accuse all of these of having suffered similar frailties in the past, however perhaps the absence of fans is a factor in some of these successes at least.

So that takes me to Zander Lombard, who’s played the renovated Leopard Creek track better than most with finishes of 3rd and 7th from his two starts. Some spectacular saves and a hot putter saw the South African right in the mix with a handful of holes to play last year before he bogeyed the 14th, failed to birdie the par-5 15th and eventually found water on the final hole, leading to a triple-bogey 8 to finish 5 shots behind eventual winner Pablo Larrazabal.

The South African has come close to a breakthrough win on the European Tour before that, losing out to Alvaro Quiros in Sicily in a play-off back in 2017 when he bogeyed the 2nd hole in extra time. You could build a narrative around those efforts building experience, however perhaps the more tangible factor – should he find himself back in the mix this week – is that the pressure of the on-looking crowd won’t be there to judge his every move.

15th last week in Joburg was the Pretoria man’s best finish of 2020 and 6th for Total Driving, 4th for Ball-Striking and 2nd for All-Round performance suggests that his game isn’t far away from peaking once again. Gaining over 10 shots from tee-to-green at Randpark is an interesting stat for a player who’s lost strokes on that count on his previous 7 starts, and he must be feeling in good spirits as he returns to a track that’s treated him well in recent times. RESULT: MC

✅ Up to £100 In Bet Credits for new customers
✅ For further details read our bet365 sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Offered 8 places each-way 1/5 odds at the 2020 PGA Championship & US Open & Masters

bet365 New Customer Offer: Up to £100 in Bet Credits. New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. The bonus code SPORT100 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Scott Hend 1pt EW with 350/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Perhaps keeping the faith in Scott Hend after he missed the cut last week will prove to be a bad move, however I’m willing to give the wine-loving Australian another chance here on his Leopard Creek debut.

The justification for supporting the 47 year-old last week was down to his performances at the Scottish Open (11th) and BMW PGA Championship (10th) where his putting and then his long game shone in equal measures respectively, and given the drop in class it made sense (in my mind at least) to take a chance on him despite some indifferent event form.

Scott has talked recently on Twitter about his game being close without the scores following over his past couple of starts. Perhaps then a switch to Bermudagrass greens will be the final ingredient for a player who I’ve always considered better on these types of putting surface.

The Maybank Championship at Saujana may provide a clue this week with David Lipsky having finished runner-up on the Bermuda greens there prior to his victory here and Pablo Larrazabal also having contended there, finishing 3rd in 2018. Scott’s win on that track last year bodes well then, a victory which completed his personal hat-trick of titles on the European Tour, all of which have come on Bermudagrass-based putting surfaces.

Finding the fairways here hasn’t been the be-all and end-all which should allow a player like Hend a little more freedom from off the tee, and when he’s playing well he tends to find a strong proportion of greens from his drives, wherever they land. That all seems to match again for this week and I’ll happily stick with him here for another week given the odds on offer. RESULT: MC

✅ Money back as a bonus up to £40 if your first bet loses & £10 casino bonus for new customers using this qualifying link
✅ For further details read our Unibet sign up offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and European Tour
✅ Strong odds on First Round Leader market

Unibet New Customer Offer: 18+ begambleaware.org. New customer only. Min deposit £10. Money back as bonus if first bet loses. Wagering requirements: sportsbook 3x at min. odds of 1.40 (2/5), casino 35x. Unless forfeited the sportsbook bonus must be wagered before using the casino bonus. Bonus expires 7 days after opt-in. No deposit required for NI customers. Call 08081699314 to claim. Full T&Cs apply. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 15:45GMT 23.11.20 but naturally subject to fluctuation.