Paul Williams

Paul Williams' Steyn City Championship Tips

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We stay in South Africa this week and move a few miles closer to Johannesburg for the Steyn City Championship which, like last week, is a low-key co-sanctioned affair with the Sunshine Tour.

Another Jack Nicklaus design will greet largely the same field as last week; similar challenges will also face the players, with the exception of the weather forecast which looks a little cooler and a little wetter, at least for the start of the event.

Dean Burmester heads the betting once again this week at around 16/1 with his tie for 18th last week at Hartbeespoort doing little to loosen up the layers. Play-off losers Jordan Smith and Adri Arnaus follow Burmester in the betting ahead of last week’s winner Pablo Larrazabal, however once again there are some attractive looking prices beyond the leading names.

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Before we go into the detail surrounding the Steyn City Championship, we always have new visitors to Golf Betting System as The Masters approaches. Welcome and let me point you in the direction of our weekly Golf Betting System podcast (published every Tuesday of the golfing calendar), the Steve Bamford Golf Channel on YouTube and our hugely popular, +6,000 strong, private Group on Facebook – you can Join Here.

Course Overview. Unlike Pecanwood last week, we have no events of any significance to review ahead of this week’s event at Steyn City, aside from a pairs event held here in 2018 on the Sunshine Tour, won by Hennie du Plessis and Jean Hugo at 23-under through 54 holes.

The similarities to last week are clear: The Club at Steyn City is also a Jack Nicklaus design at altitude, meaning that the 7,716 yard par 72 will play significantly shorter than the yardage suggests, although perhaps not to the degree of last week given the weather forecast.

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.

steyn city championship tips

Tournament Stats. We’ve published some key player statistics for this week’s Steyn City Championship, however with no significant events having taken place here we’re limited to just current form this week and first round leader stats: Current Form | First Round Leader 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.

A weather front pushing through overnight on Wednesday and into Thursday will introduce cool and wet weather for the start of the event, with temperatures struggling to hit 60 Fahrenheit. From there it will gradually warm up to the low 70s with calm, sunny conditions and the risk of a little more rain late on Saturday.

Tournament Trends & Key Factors.

A 54-hole, 23-under total from the team event held here at Steyn City on the Sunshine Tour back in 2018 hints at low-scoring once again, although the format of those events always needs to be factored in.

22-under last week from 4 rounds on a comparable setup is probably more relevant, despite being a few miles to the north from this week’s venue, and despite conditions being a little cooler to start the event, the expected rain overnight Wednesday and into Thursday is likely to make the course receptive and scoreable for the professionals.

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 expecting this week to play a little longer given the lower temperatures and rain in the forecast. 007 Bentgrass greens should run like snooker tables and birdies will once again be the order of the day, particularly from Friday onwards.

My selections are as follows:

George Coetzee 2pts EW 25/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Betfred

If you’ve been listening to the podcast for any length of time, you may be surprised that I’m backing George Coetzee for the second time this season. I’ve been burned a few times in the past with the Pretoria man, that much is true, however the case for him this week is pretty strong after last week’s effort and of those near the top of the market, he’s my preference.

5 wins on the European Tour over the years before its re-brand, the most recent success at the Portugal Masters broke the low-level co-sanctioned sequence that had preceded it and highlighted that he could indeed win outside of that level.

This event though is back right in his comfort zone: 12 Sunshine Tour wins over the years demonstrates a level of ease on home soil and with 3 of those coming at the Joburg Open and Tshwane Open (twice), he’s clearly not afraid of carrying that form into co-sanctioned events of this kind of stature.

After missing the cut at the season-opening Abu Dhabi Championship, progress has been consistent and steady. 47th at the Dubai Desert Classic, 27th at the Ras al Khaimah Championship, 9th the following week at Ras al Khaimah, then 4th last week at Pecanwood great progression and if he’s to complete the sequence then a win here is the requirement.

We know how good a putter the 35 year-old can be, so to see SG Tee to Green ranks of 11th, 15th and then 3rd last week from his last 3 starts is an eye-opener. Anything approaching his best with the flat stick would put him right in the mix if he can maintain that kind of level, and we’ve seen many times that once he finds some form he can maintain that for a few weeks and turn it, on occasion, into silverware. RESULT: T25

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Thriston Lawrence 1pt EW 66/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Although Thriston Lawrence’s tie for 9th last week was ultimately frustrating for me given that I’d backed him each-way at 100/1, there was still a lot to like from his performance which came fresh off the back of a 2nd place finish the before in Kenya.

One flat day is enough to scupper anyone’s chances on a birdie-fest and a Saturday round of 71 needed to be half a dozen shots better to give the Nelspruit native a real chance heading into the final day. To his credit, Lawrence ground out a top 10 finish with a round of 66 to close, which was beaten by just 3 other players in the field, and he’s got to be pleased with the way he’s playing overall at present.

Although we haven’t got a wide sample of results on DP World Tour tracks to present a bullet-proof case, a win at the Joburg Open – albeit rather fortuitously – coupled with his results over the past fortnight would suggest that he’s perfectly comfortable playing on courses that correlate well with this week. Altitude, Bentgrass greens and low totals all look to be right in the 25 year-old’s wheelhouse.

Long enough off the tee to compensate for the weather and underfoot conditions this week, he’s ranked 2nd and 10th for greens hit over the past fortnight and any spark with the putter could see him compiling a very competitive total here this week. RESULT: T8

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Hurly Long 1pt EW 66/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Following an impressive start to 2022, the secret’s well and truly out about Hurly Long’s potential.

Shooting 61 as an amateur on a course as iconic as Pebble Beach is sure to get many an observer of golf scribbling in their notebook, and the amateur milestones came thick and fast for the young German who represented his nation three times in the Eisenhower Trophy and five times in the European Amateur Team Championship.

A win on the Pro Golf Tour in 2019 came at 24-under par from just 3 rounds, including a closing round of 60, to underline his scoring ability and he bettered that in the autumn of 2020 by taking the Italian Challenge Open title on the 2nd tier.

Of course the next stage now is to push on at DP World Tour level and finishes of 18th and 3rd at the Ras al Khaimah double-header, followed up with a runner-up finish in Kenya the week before last, suggests that the door will open sooner rather than later.

I can forgive the 26 year-old last week’s tie for 57th given the exertions of the previous week; he putted well once again – the 4th consecutive outing where he ranked inside the top 10 for putting average – however the long game fell away versus the contending weeks prior to that. If that was just a blip, effectively a reaction to his effort the previous week, then I’m happy to take a chance that he can get back up to contending form this week. RESULT: T21

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Francesco Laporta 1pt EW 70/1 (6EW, 1/5) with Unibet

Another player who put 3 good rounds together last week only to be hampered by his Saturday performance was Francesco Laporta.

A pair of 67s to open his account at Pecanwood had the Italian inside the top 20, only for his good work to be undone with a round of 73 on moving day. Like Thriston Lawrence who I mentioned earlier, Laporta also closed last week’s event with a strong round of 66 and he could take that positive momentum into this week’s test.

The most eye-catching stat from last week’s effort was that the 31 year-old led the field for putts per GIR; although never an exact science that statistic with the preference going to Strokes Gained nowadays, it’s worth noting that last week’s winner Pablo Larrazabal also ranked first on that count on his previous start, so coming into these low-scoring events with some positive vibes emanating from the flat stick is never a bad thing.

To date, Francesco hasn’t built on his two Challenge Tour successes in 2019 with victory at the top level, however last year’s results hinted more than ever that he’s on the cusp of a breakthrough. 4th at the Irish Open (on the Nicklaus-designed Mount Juliet), 4th at the Italian Open, 6th at the BMW PGA Championship, 7th at the Portugal Masters and 2nd at the Aviv Dubai Championship are all decent efforts and after a quiet start to 2022 he could be ready to push on once again as he seeks out that first win at DP World Tour level. RESULT: MC

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Richard Sterne 1pt EW 125/1 (5EW, 1/4) with bet365

Finally I’ll close with Richard Sterne whose recent upturn in form may be a little more than just a flash in the pan.

At the peak of his powers back in 2008, the South African sneaked inside the world’s top 30 for a fleeting moment and recorded WGC top-10 finishes at Doral and Firestone to accompany his 6 European Tour wins back in the day.

4 of those wins came in his homeland and 2 of them were in the vicinity of this week’s test at the Joburg Open, the most recent of which in 2013 came at a whopping 27-under par. The Pretoria native can play at altitude, he can putt on Bentgrass greens, and he can compile a score – all good foundations for this week’s task.

Of course, the reason that he’s available at a 3-figure price – despite finishing in a tie for 5th last week at Pecanwood – is that the past few years haven’t been as fruitful as his early career, and that’s being polite. Wrist and back issues, hip and knee operations – Sterne’s had the lot. A light schedule has understandably followed in recent times, however 26th in Kenya hinted at some form with middle rounds of 68 & 67, before opening rounds of 64 & 65 last week put him back in the heat of battle for the first time in a good few years. A flat weekend meant that 5th place was the reward in the end, however his game looked good across the board statistically and perhaps that effort will stir up the competitive juices. RESULT: T60

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Odds and bookmaker offers correct at 16:20GMT 14.3.22 but are naturally subject to fluctuation.