BMW SA Open Fantasy Preview

After a nice holiday break, it’s good to have some Euro Tour action back in our lives.

Unlike the name of the Tour suggests, we will continue to avoid the continent of Europe for quite some time. Instead, we get the second event this season in South Africa. The winner of the first one (Alfred Dunhill) is also the defending champion here at the South African Open. That man is Brandon Stone, but more about him in a bit.

First, let’s talk about the course. It’s Glendower GC, a lengthy 7,594 yard par-72 layout. The greens are bentgrass while the tee-to-green grass is kikuyu, like it often is in South Africa. The course has hosted this event for three seasons now, and the field average has been 72.72 over that time, so it’s definitely on the trickier side of the tracks.

Players to Watch

Rory 2016Rory McIlroy… The big decision this week comes at the top of the list. Rory McIlroy is in the field as a favor to Ernie Els. If this was a major championship played on the same course against the same field, we could project a five-shot victory for Rory. Instead, we have to consider his motivation and course prep this week. He also has new equipment in the bag this week, so it may just be a testing ground for the new sticks. He is $3,000 more than the second-highest priced golfer this week (DraftKings). I really don’t think you HAVE to jam him into your lineups this week, but I wouldn’t talk you out of it, especially if you like some of the value plays near the bottom.

Thomas Aiken… 17th and 5th place here at Glendower. You are paying for consistency here with Aiken.

Andy Sullivan… Finished 12th in his Glendower debut (2014) and followed it up with a win. Missed the cut in his title defense, but it would be odd to see him miss the cut again this week. Should be one of the favorites given his success here in 2-of-3 attempts.

Brandon Stone… I felt like a fool last year when I gave him the “future superstar” tag only to see him go into a prolonged slump for the summer. It appears he is out of that slump and now back at a familiar venue. He grew up in the area and lives just 30 minutes from here. Should be a safe bet for another top 25 this week. We should start to see him more in the States this year as he tries to make the jump to the big stage.

Erik Van Rooyen… This Minnesota Gopher is a regular on the Sunshine Tour, and should be well-acclimated to the kikyuyu and bentgrass this week. Has an 18th and 33rd in two trips to Glendower, and I think we could see him take it even lower this time around.

Romain Langasque … Talent-wise, he is one to watch very closely this year. Worth a shot this week, but I can’t put him inside my top 25 since I don’t know what kind of courses, grasses, continents, etc. will fit his game.

Thomas Detry… Much like Langasque, the upside is huge, but I’m not ready to dive in yet 100%. I will sprinkle him in a few lineups for the time being while I play the wait-and-see game.

Trevor Fisher Jr. … Three top 15s in three tries here at Glendower. The South African appears comfortable on home soild.

Zander Lomard … I almost always lean course history over form so it was nice to see Lombard finally make a cut here last year. The youngster was 0-for-2 before that, but a T12 last year is promising and he’s one of the up-and-coming talents in South Africa. That makes him a great GPP play on DraftKings in my opinion but I probably won’t take the plunge in cash lineups.

My Top 25 for the 2017 SA Open

1. Rory McIlroy
2. Andy Sullivan
3. Thomas Aiken
4. Jaco Van Zyl
5. Erik Van Rooyen
6. Trevor Fisher Jr.
7. Brandon Stone
8. David Drysdale
9. Richard Bland
10. Chris Hanson
11. Carlos Pigem
12. George Coetzee
13. Retief Goosen
14. Adilson Da Silva
15. Keith Horne
16. Jean Hugo
17. Dylan Frittelli
18. Mikko Korhonen
19. Dean Burmester
20. Peter Uihlein
21. Graeme Storm
22. Chris Paisley
23. Zander Lombard
24. Nino Bertasio
25. Matthew Southgate

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