Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Jonsson Workwear Open Tips 2023

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Although he never looked likely to catch impressive winner Matt Baldwin on Sunday at St Francis Links, a late double bogey on the par-5 16th,followed by a bogey on the next hole, meant that 33/1 chance Joost Luiten slipped to a tie for 9th overall, frustratingly meaning no return for me last week in Eastern Cape.

We stay in South Africa this week and move north-east to Johannesburg for the Jonsson Workwear Open which, like last week, is a low-key co-sanctioned affair with the Sunshine Tour, where I’m hoping for something a little better.

Another Jack Nicklaus design will greet largely the same field as last week; the challenge though is markedly different having moved away from breezy, coastal golf at sea-level to the altitude of the Highveld where the ball flies much further.

Jordan Smith and Adri Arnaus contest favouritism this week, with the latter recording a runner-up finish at St Francis Links over the weekend. The aforementioned Joost Luiten rates as a 22/1 shot this week in another open affair.

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Course Overview. The Club at Steyn City is a Jack Nicklaus design at altitude, meaning that the 7,716 yard par 72 plays significantly shorter than the yardage suggests, bringing it more into line with a regular-length course.

Built on the site of an old quarry, the course makes use of the natural canyons from the location’s heritage and the Jukskei River flows through the layout to offer some protection to what is otherwise a wide, scoreable track laid with Bentgrass greens.

The front 9 proved to be easier than the back 9 when this course hosted the Steyn City Championship last year, and a different tournament title shouldn’t change that fact with two of the par-5s and a pair of relatively short par 4s presenting birdie (and eagle) opportunities.

The back 9 is tougher with 5 of the 9 holes playing over par on aggregate 12 months ago, culminating in the 515 yard par 4 closing hole which ranked as the hardest hole on the course.

jonsson workwear open tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Steyn City Championship, with the results from 2022 relating to the Steyn City Championship held here 12 months ago: Current Form | First Round Leader Stats | Combined 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.

Largely dry, warm and sunny conditions are expected with the mercury rising to the mid 20s Centigrade, high 70s Fahrenheit, accompanied by a light breeze of 5-10mph.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors. From a traditional stats perspective, the top four finishers here at Steyn City last year rated as follows:

  • 1st, Shaun Norris. 289 yards (66th), 78.6% fairways (40th), 80.6% greens in regulation (13th), 78.6% scrambling (9th), 1.59 putts per GIR (1st).
  • 2nd, Dean Burmester. 308 yards (36th), 72.7% fairways (61st), 69.4% greens in regulation (65th), 68.2% scrambling (23rd), 1.62 putts per GIR (3rd).
  • 3rd, Oliver Bekker. 299 yards (50th), 90.9% fairways (5th), 80.6% greens in regulation (13th), 50% scrambling (59th), 1.71 putts per GIR (28th).
  • 3rd, Matti Schmid. 342 yards (4th), 83.9% fairways (18th), 73.6% greens in regulation (41st), 78.9% scrambling (8th), 1.68 putts per GIR (14th).

The main observations stats-wise were that fairways were easy to find – 80% Driving Accuracy was around the median for those who made the cut – and Putts Per GIR was ultimately the key for success for the top two finishers as well as many of the top-10 finishers.

Strokes Gained: From a Strokes Gained perspective, the same 4 players ranked as follows:

  • 1st, Shaun Norris. T: 57th; A: 4th; T2G: 12th; ATG: 31st; P: 1st
  • 2nd, Dean Burmester. T: 1st; A: 29th; T2G: 1st; ATG: 2nd; P: 34th
  • 3rd, Oliver Bekker. T: 3rd; A: 12th; T2G: 4th; ATG: 32nd; P: 30th
  • 3rd, Matti Schmid. T: 5th; A: 53rd; T2G: 14th; ATG: 24th; P: 9th

Key: T: SG Off the Tee; A; SG Approach; T2G: SG Tee to Green; ATG: SG Around the Green; P: SG Putting.

The most consistent metric was SG Tee to Green with each of the top 4 finishers ranking inside the top 14 on the week in that respect. Once again, eventual winner Shaun Norris topped the putting statistic to set him apart from the rest of the field.

Par 5 scoring was strong for the top 2 or 3 dozen players, so taking advantage of the long holes is a given if a player is going to contend. What set Shaun Norris and Dean Burmester apart from the rest of the field – they were 6 and 3 shots ahead of the chasing pack respectively – was scoring on the par 4s, so that may well be another consideration here this week.

Like last week, this is a Jack Nicklaus design and his work litters the professional golfing circuit. The London Club (2021 Cazoo Classic) and Mount Juliet (2021 Irish Open) are recent events on the DP World Tour to peruse, however in the past we’ve had the likes of Mission Hills, Gut Larchenhof, Gleneagles and Lake Malaren amongst others that were penned by Nicklaus. Wide fairways and extensive bunkering are a common theme to his designs.

Altitude will once again negate some of the yardage on the scorecard, although I’m not expecting it to be quite so soft this year given there was more rain before last year’s visit here. 007 Bentgrass greens should run like snooker tables though and birdies will once again be the order of the day.

My selections are as follows:

Thriston Lawrence 2pts EW 40/1 (5EW, 1/4) with Betfred

From an opening show with bet365 of 45/1 which lasted a matter of minutes on Monday morning, Thriston Lawrence has been backed heavily for this week’s Jonsson Workwear Open, and quite rightly too.

I backed the Nelspruit native here at Steyn City last year on the back of a rather fortuitous win at the previous year’s Covid-affected Joburg Open, plus some further altitude form at the Kenya Open (2nd) and MyGolfLife Open (9th), which all seemed to point to a likely contending performance. He finished in a tie for 8th.

Since that point in time, the 26 year-old has added a second DP World Tour victory to his CV at Crans-sur-Sierre – yes another altitude test – and then a third title at the Joburg Open in November. You’ve guessed it, that event was also played at 6,000 feet of altitude. He clearly gets the maths.

Largely off the boil since that victory at Blair Atholl, 3rd to halfway in Thailand last month signalled an improvement, and 5th heading into Sunday before closing with a 73 last week reinforces the assertion that something’s percolating in the South African’s game.

8th here as I mentioned 12 months ago saw improvement throughout the week, with rounds of 69/68/68/66 moving him up the leaderboard each day, and 2nd for SG Putting suggests that he’s very much got the measure of the putting greens here at Steyn City. 5th for Putts per GIR last week hints at a warming of the flat stick once again now that he’s back on home soil, and I’m happy to support him here this week as a result. RESULT: T52

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Shaun Norris 1pt EW 50/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Strictly speaking, if we’re using an event’s title as the definition, the defending champion this week is JC Ritchie as he won the 2022 Jonsson Workwear Open which was a Challenge Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned affair held in Durban.

Whether that result has the slightest bit of relevance to this week now that the Jonsson Workwear’s support has been rewarded with this higher-profile event and shifted to Steyn City is debatable; what isn’t debatable though is that Shaun Norris won an event at this level, on this course, 12 months ago and that result cannot be ignored.

It was a family affair for the South African last year with his brother on the bag and his wife and baby daughter in the crowd, and there’s a better chance than the bookies are suggesting of a repeat performance here this week in my view given the positive signs that are evident in the 40 year-old’s game of late.

48th at the Indian Open prompted some positive comments from Norris on Social Media, and he followed that up with 20th at the Kenya Open a fortnight ago where a second round 67 got him into a solid halfway position before a closing 63 equalled the low round of the week.

32nd last week at St Francis Links saw Shaun improve to 10th place after 54 holes with progressive rounds of 74, 70 and 66 before a final round 75 saw him slide down the leaderboard, however he’s undoubtedly getting closer and perhaps a return to the scene of his maiden DP World Tour victory will see him push on once again. 3rd and 4th for SG Putting over those last two efforts is encouraging and more of the same could see him win back-to-back events at Steyn City. RESULT: T58

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✅ Bet £10 get £30 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT30 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 new customer offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ ‘Each Way Extra’ promotion where you can choose between 3, 8, 10 or 12 places each way

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Daniel van Tonder 1pt EW 60/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

My knee-jerk reaction with birdie-fests is to focus too heavily on putting stats which can often leave perfectly viable options like Daniel van Tonder off of my final team. How many times in the past have week seen a Sergio Garcia or a Lee Westwood get to super-low totals through an immaculate tee to green game, supported by an adequate rather than red-hot putting performance? Plenty is the answer.

Last year’s Strokes Gained statistics captured here at Steyn City also support the theory that a player of van Tonder’s ilk can contend around these parts. The leading 4 finishers each ranked inside the top 14 for SG Tee to Green, and if we ignore eventual winner Shaun Norris for one moment, then runner-up Dean Burmester topped the field for SG Off the Tee and the next two finishers ranked 3rd and 5th on that count.

Although largely off the boil since finishing 3rd at the Joburg Open in late November, Danie (as he calls himself) has shown some progressive form of late as he looks to add a second DP World Tour title to his record and what would be a ninth Sunshine Tour title should it come in a co-sanctioned affair such as this. 57th in Thailand, 56th in India, 35th in Kenya and 32nd last week at St Francis Links have each shown improvement over the last effort in terms of SG Tee to Green performance, culminating in 8th on that count last week, and he topped the SG Off the Tee charts in Eastern Cape last week into the bargain.

The 32 year-old’s breakthrough DP World Tour win holds some relevance for this week given that it was played at altitude in Kenya, and he’s since won the South African Open at the end of 2021 when it was hosted at the Sun City, another altitude track with dimensions similar to this week’s task.

Any significant improvement on last year’s 16th place finish here at Steyn City could see the Soweto man challenging for an each-way place or better. RESULT: T32

*bet365 Golf Each Way Extra – Up to 12 places for Each Way Golf bets on selected tournaments. Each Way Extra gives you the option to increase or decrease the number of places when you are betting pre-event on the To Win Outright market on selected Golf events – add places on to your Each Way Golf bets for extra security at lower odds, or increase the price by removing places. Bet restrictions apply. For further details of how Each Way Extra works on golf click here.

✅ Bet £10 get £30 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT30 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 new customer offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ ‘Each Way Extra’ promotion where you can choose between 3, 8, 10 or 12 places each way

bet365 New Customer Offer: New Customers only. Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5 and £10 to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. Registration required. The bonus code SPORT30 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Nacho Elvira 1pt EW 110/1 (8EW, 1/5*) with bet365

Finally I’ll take a chance on Nacho Elvira who may just be rounding into some form after a tough 6 months or so.

5 Missed Cuts from his final 7 events of 2022 didn’t improve massively with the turn of the new year, with a tailed of 67th in Abu Dhabi being followed by another 4 weekends off, however perhaps the tide has finally turned for the Spaniard.

40th at the Kenya Open, which again has altitude to factor in, saw the 36 year-old lead to halfway for the first time since his breakthrough win at the Cazoo Open back in 2021, and 23rd last week in Eastern Cape also encourages given he was +5 for the tournament after 21 holes with another blank pay-cheque looming. 8 birdies in his final 15 holes of the second round, which was finished on Saturday morning, was a strong recovery though, and although he trod water from there, that effort was noteworthy nevertheless.

In addition to that win at Celtic Manor a couple of summers ago, Nacho also has 4 wins on the Challenge Tour, 3 of which have come at 21-under or deeper, which offers encouragement that low-scoring events like this aren’t an issue.

6th at Pecanwood and 9th at Crans-sur-Sierre last year suggests that making the necessary adjustments for altitude isn’t an issue either for the Madrid man, and a big improvement on last year’s 48th place finish here – which came immediately after that Pecanwood effort – isn’t out of the question here. RESULT: MC

*bet365 Golf Each Way Extra – Up to 12 places for Each Way Golf bets on selected tournaments. Each Way Extra gives you the option to increase or decrease the number of places when you are betting pre-event on the To Win Outright market on selected Golf events – add places on to your Each Way Golf bets for extra security at lower odds, or increase the price by removing places. Bet restrictions apply. For further details of how Each Way Extra works on golf click here.

✅ Bet £10 get £30 in free bets for new customers
✅ Bonus code SPORT30 can be used, but does not change the offer amount in any way
✅ For further details read our bet365 new customer offer page
✅ Early odds available each week on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour
✅ ‘Each Way Extra’ promotion where you can choose between 3, 8, 10 or 12 places each way

bet365 New Customer Offer: New Customers only. Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets. Sign up, deposit between £5 and £10 to your account and bet365 will give you three times that value in Free Bets when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply. Registration required. The bonus code SPORT30 can be used during registration, but does not change the offer amount in any way. #Ad

Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 14:45GMT 20.3.23 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.