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2022 Joburg Open: Betting Tips & Selections

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And that was the DP World Tour season over.

And here is the DP World Tour season beginning.

Just a few days after Jon Rahm produced an exhibition display to beat a stellar field in Dubai (and earn less ranking points than Adam Svensson did at the RSM), the tour starts its 2023 season with a co-sanctioned Joburg Open, a mixed field of the best of the Sunshine Tour, some European stalwarts, and others that might well not bother turning up.

Viewers will not have seen Houghton GC for many years, but in the years of hosting the Dunhill Championship (2000-2004) the names Adam Scott, Charl Schwartzel and Justin Rose call for the halcyon days of the tour in South Africa. There are very few in this field that could reach that major-winning standard, and it will be of interest to see if the internationals can wrest away the title from the home contingent, something they could not do when that event turned to Leopard Creek, the Springboks winning seven from the last ten.

The Nicklaus course now hosts the Joburg Open, where in 14 runnings over various courses, home players have won nine and been out of the runner-up spot just twice.

Back to the Dunhill and it’s most recent winner, Christiaan Bezhuidenhout, easily the most likley victor this week.

Like many of the more promising youngsters in South Africa, Bez’s career starts with early victories on the Big Easy Tour and has progressed ever since.

Although with just four wins to his name at this level, the 28-year-old has built his reputation on a stellar short game, something that enabled him to win at tricky Valderrama by an incredible six shots, before going back-to-back at Leopard Creek and the Gary Player GC, to win two of his home country’s most prestigious events.

Having spent much of the last two years inside the world’s top 50, a series of acceptable rather than impressive results has seen him slip to number 72 but he will surely see this as a chance to get going in the right direction again.

Clearly Bez likes Gary Player designed tracks, and it may be no coincidence that his best recent effort was last time out at the Nedbank (held at the GPGC), but like Nicklaus, Player asks questions of the golfer, and with Bez having a short game at a level higher than the majority of these, it is easy to see him thrive here.

Stats on the recent PGA events are very mixed, but he was third in greens-in-reg and eighth in putting at the John Deere – a course that requires low scoring and a bogey-avoiding round – and he was again top-10 for the flat stick stats at Sedgefield and at the BMW, the penultimate FedEX Cup event.

The mention of that lucrative title certainly puts Bez in a different league to his rivals this week and, having relished the return home a couple of weeks ago, can continue that form and take a win into the 2023 PGA season.

Despite losing strokes off the tee at the Gary Player, Bez ranked 11th for tee-to-green, 4th for around-the-green and top 20 for putting. Add that to his figures when playing at home since 2020 – 1/15/1/1/6/5 – and anything bigger than 6/1 looks worth a pop.

Should Bez get beaten, both George Coetzee and Thriston Lawrence are clearly the biggest dangers, especially given their win records compared to Hennie Du Plessis, Oliver Bekker and Louis De Jager.

Coetzee loves it when dropped back from the DP World Tour and has already won twice when arriving back from either the Korn Ferry or European tours, but he seems happier in weaker fields where he is favourite and can dominate.

However, Lawrence, who, with a win last year finally lived up to some big early hype, won his first true DP World event at Crans after running-up at Kenya – both significant moves towards this event.

Off the boil for a while, he bounced back to form when sixth at potentially linkable Valderrama, before an eventual 15th at the Nedbank disguises that he was third going into Sunday.

19th off-the-tee for the season, the 25-year-old backs that up with top-30 for approaches, tee-to-green and greens-in-regulation, with 18th for putts-per-greens-in-reg.

This is, of course, a huge drop in class from the DP World Tour Championship last week and on overall stats, he looks an each-way play to nothing.

It would be surprising if one of the top lot were not to win, so I’ll take just one, far more unexposed, player to grab a place on the first couple of pages of the board.

Deon Germishuys was a tempter after an excellent Challenge Tour season, but perhaps he’s best left as a ‘follow’ throughout 2023. Instead, take a chance with Tom McKibbin, a name that should be on everyone’s list going into 2023, 2024, and beyond.

Coming from Holywood brings a sense of foreboding, as surely he will rarely escape the comparisons to that Northern Irish town’s most famous son, Rory McIlroy. The 19-year-old isn’t at all fussed, though, telling Irish Golfer, “I try not to read much about myself or anything like that. I’ve heard the comparison since I’ve been nine or 10 years old, so if anything, it’s got a little old now.”

Ignore that and we have one promising player, and one that has broadcasted his ability for a few years, despite his current age.

An outstanding junior and amateur, McKibbin had verbally agreed a move to the University of Florida before Covid ruined those plans and, it seemed, the 2021 Walker Cup, an event he was almost certain to be selected for.

Again, this is a cool head on young shoulders – “It meant I got off to a bit of a head-start in pro golf. I don’t think Walker Cup would’ve been much of a benefit and I haven’t really thought much about it since.”

So, let’s talk about the play.

In his first year with limited status and invites, the JMC-managed player recorded a 12th and 16th at Challenge Tour level before a 26th place at the higher level at Galgorm Castle (11th and 20th after the first two rounds).

That gave McKibbin entry into a few of the better Challenge Tour events, and he has taken advantage in style.

The beginning of the year saw the traditional exodus of trophy-seekers to South Africa, and McKibbin took a lead into the final day of the Cape Town Open before finishing in third place – “I played fine, did the same things I did the first three days, it just wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t tense up or anything like that. I thought I did the right things. It just didn’t pay off.”

A week later, he finished seventh after a level-par Sunday would never be enough to exploit an overnight position in the final group, but the experience would be yet another notch on the post.

The second half of the year was to be McKibbin’s highlight, with 14 events played from July onwards, rewarding him with six top-10s, including an almost repeat effort at Glagorm Castle, and three top-20 finishes.

Latterly, sixth place at the Challenge Tour Grand Final would leave him in 10th place on the CT rankings and a full DP World Tour card, something he can exploit before the bigger events next year.

Mentored by Rory, with Chris Selfridge – ex-professional and ex-caddy of Ryan Fox – on the bag – “It obviously costs money getting a top caddie like him but I think you’ve got to do it right if you want to get something really good out of it in the end. No point not investing in yourself and ending up in the same spot in five, 10 years’ time,” and with one stats line that reads ‘overall stats leader’ at Galgorm, McKibbin is something special.

It may take a few years, as it did Thriston Lawrence, to make a real mark, but it will come. Why not this week?

Other to note for big performances are Oliver Hundeboll, winner in this part of the world on the Challenge Tour last year and fifth at Fairmont at the Hero Open, and Casey Jarvis, a multi-decorated junior who in a short professional career has proven too good for lesser grade and has improved in contention throughout the year, finishing runner-up to Coetzee at the South African PGA at the beginning of the month.

I’m expecting the trophy to be lifted by one of the more obvious types, but eyes down the board to see how some of the youngsters get on, for they will be winning soon enough.

Reccomended Bets:

  • Christiaan Bezhuidenhout – Win
  • Thriston Lawrence – Each Way
  • Tom McKibbin – Top-20
  • Oliver Hundeboll – Top-20
  • Casey Jarvis – Top-20
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Whats in the Bag

Sami Valimaki WITB 2024 (February)

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  • Sami Valimaki’s WITB accurate as of the Mexico Open.

Driver: Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond S (9 degrees)
Shaft: Accra TZ RPG 462 M5+

3-wood: Callaway Paradym (16.5 degrees @15.5)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 70 TX

Check out more photos of Sami Valimaki’s clubs in the forums.

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT (19 degrees), Callaway Apex MB (4-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Hybrid Prototype 105 X, True Temper AMT Tour White X100 (4-9)

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Raw (46-10S, 50-10S, 56-10S, 60-10J)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Check out more photos of Sami Valimaki’s clubs in the forums.

Putter: Odyssey Ai-One #1

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

Check out more photos of Sami Valimaki’s clubs in the forums.

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Whats in the Bag

Denny McCarthy WITB 2024 (February)

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Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 TX

Driver: Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

5-wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

5-wood: Ping G430 Max (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8 X

Hybrid: Callaway Apex UW (21 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 9 X

Irons: Titleist T200 (4), TaylorMade P770 (5), Callaway Apex TCB (6-9)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM9 (48-10F), SM10 (52-12F, 56-08M), WedgeWorks Proto (60-L)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White X100, True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo N7
Grip: Scotty Cameron

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Check out more in-hand photos of Denny McCarthy’s WITB here.

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Equipment

TaylorMade Qi10 driver review. All 3 models! – Club Junkie Reviews

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TaylorMade’s new Qi10 drivers are packed with new technology for maximum performance. Whether you are looking for maximum forgiveness or low-spin workability, there is a Qi10 driver for your needs. The faces are still 60 layers of carbon fiber, but in contrast to the Stealth line, feature a much more subtle blue tone. TaylorMade’s new Infinity Carbon Crown not only gives a weight advantage but also gives each driver a much cleaner and better look, to my eye. Each driver is a little different but built for maximum performance.

For the full, more in-depth review, check out the Club Junkie Podcast on every podcast platform and on YouTube.

TaylorMade Qi10 Max

This is the driver that is getting the most buzz it seems from the 2024 TaylorMade lineup thanks to its 10K MOI measurement. This 10K MOI means that the Qi10 Max head is extremely stable on mishits and will prevent the head from swinging open or closed.

The Max definitely has the largest-looking profile from address and has a more rounded shape to it compared to the other Qi10 drivers. I like the more rounded shape, and even though it doesn’t have the classic TaylorMade shape, it is easy on the eyes. The new blue carbon face is also more subtle and you don’t notice it compared to the previous red faces on the Stealth and Stealth 2 drivers.

Out on the course, or range, is where you will notice where the 10K comes into play. The first bad swing will be met with a shot that is more than likely more playable than you would have thought. The head keeps the ball on a straighter trajectory with reduced curve once in flight. You will still miss the fairway right or left with those swings but the shot will typically be straight to either side.

While my numbers from my most recent range session don’t show it, the launch on the Qi10 Max was more mid-high for me on the course. Ball speed was consistent and the Max held onto a good amount of it, even when you didn’t catch the center of the face. I went through my shots and was pretty impressed with the limited variation in ball speed throughout my session.

The spin numbers were also lower than expected and to be fair I was hitting a 9-degree Qi10 Max head, and I typically hit a low draw shot shape. I am not considered a high-speed or spin player, but the Qi10 Max didn’t spin a ton, even when hit low on the face. Only a handful of shots touched the low 3,000 RPM mark while most stayed lower than that. I think moving to the 10.5-degree head would be a better fit for me, adding some launch and a little spin to my shots would increase the distance by a few yards.

TaylorMade Qi10 LS

The model that we first drooled over in Rory and Tiger’s bags early this year! TaylorMade’s 2024 low-spin driver sports a new name, dropping the “Plus” designation. The LS model clearly has the traditional TaylorMade pear shape to it and a noticeably more compact look. A deeper face and shorter length from heel-to-toe give the look of a driver that the more skilled player will be able to easily shape shots with. The head also looks a bit more open than the Max head, and I love that TaylorMade has been able to create toplines that look more open than they appear.

The Qi10 LS creates some very long drives out on the course and range. This driver offers a little more feel and slightly quieter sound than the other two models, you can really feel the ball compress on the face at impact. For players who routinely hit the center, you will be rewarded with consistent fast ball speed and great distance. I hit my two longest drives with this head when I was going through my range session the other day.

Ball flight was flat, but the head is still easy to elevate and hit towering, boring tee shots. I thought the LS was actually going to come out really low, but I had no problem hitting higher shots with almost no spin. If spin is your problem with driver, the LS could be the pill you need as it is a very low spin head. I was rarely getting into the mid-2000s and had most shots in the high 1900 RPM. I never saw a ball go over 2,600 RPM, no matter where I hit it on the face.

Now the LS will show you a little less love when you aren’t swinging well and hitting it close to the center. For me, the start line of my shots was the farthest right of the three heads, but I saw more movement in the air on poor swings. There was also a little more drop-off in ball speed when the ball traveled away from center compared to the Qi10 and Qi10 Max heads.

TaylorMade Qi10

This is TaylorMade’s “bread and butter” head should fit a wide range of golfers. We have seen Rory move into this head, and we should see it in a lot of amateur bags as well this year. The Qi10 head bridges the gap between ultra forgiveness and low-spin distance with a little larger profile than the LS.

The shape is closer to the LS with a slightly more tapered line from the back of the hosel to the round back of the driver. I can’t stress enough how much I like the sleek look of the new Infinity Carbon Crown as it just gives a great view to the golfer.

This driver is the underrated one of the bunch in my opinion. While it isn’t the most forgiving or the lowest spin, it does everything rather well. It is pretty darn forgiving and definitely isn’t in a high spin category so plenty of golfers will find this head working for them.

I found the standard Qi10 the most consistent for me as it was easy to launch, and I think if you took away a few of the shots I hit higher on the face on the LS, this would have been the highest launching head of the group. The launch was mid-high and with that, the spin still never got wildly high. The misses were very straight and like the Max had less curve to them, more straight right or left.

To me, the ball speed numbers seemed to stay more consistent on mishits compared to Stealth 2 and center strikes had a softer feel to them. High-toe misses stayed in play with a more gentle draw and more carry than I expected, most of those shots ended in a pretty tight area. Swinging the Qi10 also felt a little different than the Max as I think the CG placement gives each driver its own unique feel through your swing. The Qi10 felt like it was a touch easier to release and rotated back to square at impact just a little faster than the Max. I don’t know if you could tell if you didn’t hit them side-by-side but if you do you can probably feel the difference.

TaylorMade definitely brought some changes to the Qi10 line, and I think, overall, they’ve crafted some really good drivers. The Qi10 Max will be great for those players who need the most stability they can to find the fairways, and I think will play to lower handicaps than expected. The Qi10 LS will be a skilled player’s wand to create shots and work the ball to positions on the fairway that allow them to score better. The Qi10 will fit a wide range of golfers who are looking for a driver that helps them on bad shots but still has the ball speed and spin to hit their longest drives.

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