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|Daniel van Tonder||+2500
Dean Burmester is 75th in the world rankings after a surge. The South African excels in his home continent and can land the win at +1400 Caesars Sportsbook.
Oliver Bekker has a potent mix of current and course form. He can win a 72-hole match over Muthaiga first-timer Zander Lombard at -120 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
Shubhankar Sharma has good form and a strong record in events held at altitude. Back the Indian to crack the top 10 at +400 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
After two weeks off, the DP World Tour resumes on the continent of Africa with the Magical Kenya Open.
That’s quite the title and it’s fitting that some of the magicians of the game such as Seve Ballesteros and Ian Woosnam both have their name on the trophy.
Its history dates back to 1967 and, over the years, the tournament has been part of various tours.
Since gaining European Tour (now DP World Tour) status in 2019, the event has been played at Karen Golf Club.
Guido Migliozzi of Italy won there in 2019 and, after the pandemic caused a cancellation in 2020, South African Justin Harding beat Kurt Kitayama (solo third at the Honda Classic last Sunday) by two shots in 2022.
This year, it moves to nearby Muthaiga GC but the parkland track is no stranger to hosting the Kenya Open and did so twice recently on the Challenge Tour (2017 and 2018).
Both venues are at altitude so don’t throw out form at Karen as it still has plenty of relevance.
Muthaiga is a par 71 measuring 7,184 yards but with the ball flying further in the rarified air, that’s very short by modern standards.
The course is tree-lined and has plenty of water in play, the inward nine shaped around several man-made lakes. The greens are bentgrass.
With lots of dog-legs, big-hitting is somewhat negated and many regard it more as a fairways and greens test.
Looking at the recent Challenge Tour events played there, Aaron Rai (now on the PGA Tour) scored an emotional win in 2017 (he has a Kenyan mother) when shooting 17-under.
Scoring was tougher in 2018 when Italy’s Lorenzo Gagli outlasted Sweden’s Jens Fahbring in a play-off.
Given the geographical location, it’s no surprise that South Africans have a strong record in this event.
They’ve provided four of the last 10 winners and also four runners-up over that same time span.
The Springbok I like here is Dean Burmester, one of the joint-favorites at +1400.
Burmester ended 2020 ranked 182nd in the world but is now No.75 having peaked at 66th last year.
He didn’t quite have his best stuff on the Middle East Swing although a T25 in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship was a fair effort in a top-class field.
What really stands out with Burmester is looking at his results when he heads back to his home continent.
In three of his last four events in South Africa, he has a win at the South African PGA Championship in November, a fourth at the South African Open in December, and a second place in the Dimension Data Pro-Am a fortnight ago.
Burmester is a big hitter but looking at his stats in the latter shows him 18th for Driving Accuracy and 17th for Greens In Regulation so he had control too.
It’s also no bad thing to see him rank 1st for Putting Average in that event.
Burmester was tied eighth in the 2021 Kenya Open so good form in the area adds a final tick to his credentials.
Last week’s 72-hole match bet landed easily as Billy Horschel (T16) easily got the better of a fatigued Joaquin Niemann (missed cut) in a -110 pick’ em.
This time I’ll go for the in-form Oliver Bekker to gun down fellow South African Zander Lombard.
Bekker was close to selection in the outright market, to be honest.
The seven-time SA Sunshine Tour winner is in great form after back-to-back top 10 finishes in the two recent DP World Tour events held in Ras al Khaimah.
Two starts earlier he was runner-up in the South African Open.
Bekker has a bunch of course form too. He’s played four times at Muthaiga on the Challenge Tour and has an 18th (2010), a 14th (2012), and a 6th (2018). It seems the course fits his eye.
Lombard is in good form as well after a third at Ras al Khaimah and another top three in the Cape Town Open last week.
But he’s an inconsistent character and will be seeing the course for the first time.
In addition, Lombard’s two starts on Kenyan soil show a WD (after rounds of 82-71) and a missed cut (75-72).
Bekker (-120 DraftKings) offers a more trustworthy package and can take down Lombard over 72 holes.
With the course nearly 1,800 meters above sea level, I’m looking for a player who can excel at altitude.
One player that easily springs to mind is Shubhankar Sharma.
PGA Tour fans may recall the Indian golfer causing a shock for the first three rounds of the WGC-Mexico Championship in 2017 when, against all odds, he led the world’s best with 18 holes to go.
It didn’t work out on day four but his performance there added to the belief that he’s one to watch when the ball is flying further than normal.
Other evidence of him playing well high up comes from a win at the Joburg Open and a strong run in the European Open at Crans-Sur-Sierre.
He went 3-for-3 in the Middle East recently and that included an excellent second place in Abu Dhabi.
Back Sharma for a top 10 at +400 with DraftKings Sportsbook.
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|Magical Kenya Open|
|Tournament||Magical Kenya Open|
|Location||Muthaiga Golf Club, Nairobi, Kenya|
|Time||Thursday, March 03 – Sunday, March 06|
|How to Watch||Thursday-Friday 5 am-10 am ET (Golf Channel), Saturday 4.30 am-9 am (Golf Channel), Sunday 4.30 am-9 am (Golf Channel). All 4 days on Sky Sports|
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Dave Tindall is former golf editor at SkySports.com and Golf365.com and has been writing betting previews for the PGA Tour and European Tour since 1997. He has also written for a range of betting companies, including William Hill and Betfair, as well as being a regular columnist for Rotoworld, The Guardian, Sporting Life and Planet Sport. His other area of speciality is football while he's also covered cricket and tennis.
Email: [email protected]More info on Dave Tindall
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