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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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Equipment

7 equipment takeaways from the PGA Tour Champions (including Bernhard Langer’s INCREDIBLE iron setup)

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During most weeks, GolfWRX.com reports live from the practice rounds of PGA Tour events, but occasionally we check out the Korn Ferry Tour, LPGA Tour, and PGA Tour Champions as well. To be honest, I personally think most amateurs can learn way more from the equipment setups on the LPGA and Champions Tour, but that’s another story for another day. I’ll save the gear lessons and get right to the seriously cool, custom, and throwback equipment that I spotted recently at Phoenix Country Club for the 2022 Charles Schwab Cup Championship.

Below are my 7 equipment takeaways from going inside the ropes at the Champions Tour season finale.

More photos from the Charles Schwab Cup Championship 

1) Miguel Angel’s fairway wood faces are DIMED out

Miguel Angel Jimenez uses three different Ping G425 Max fairway woods (14.5, 17.5 and 20.5 degrees), and each of them have similar wear marks directly in the center of the face – aside from the 7 wood, which has a slight skymark near the crown.

We also got a close look at the type of cigar that Jimenez smokes, if you’re into that kind of thing. It’s a Chateau de la Fuente Opus X Rare Estate Reserve from 1992, for those curious.

Miguel Angel Jimenez 2022 WITB (Charles Schwab Cup)

2) Stickers are a viable way to customize your clubs

Rocco Mediate customizes his Ping G400 driver using stickers, while his Artisan wedges are stamped the old-fashioned way.

See more of Rocco’s bag setup here

3) 50 Cent’s new favorite Champions Tour golfer?

Y.E. Yang’s custom “Yangsta” Vokey wedge deserves a remix of rapper 50 Cent’s popular “What Up, Gangsta?” song.

What up, Yangsta?

And, as always, his bag is so packed with hybrids that his longest iron the bag is a 7-iron!

More photos of Y.E. Yang’s bag, and more

4) K.J. Choi bag update

It’s always fun to see what clubs K.J. Choi is using, because he seems to switch it up so often. Most recently, he was using Srixon’s brand new ZX7 MKII irons, with a small strip of lead tape on the back cavity.

More photos of K.J. Choi’s bag

5) A TaylorMade xFT ZTP wedge spotted in the wild

When I was heading toward Padraig Harrington’s bag to see what irons and wedges he was playing these days, I was NOT expecting to see an old TaylorMade XFT ZTP 58-degree wedge from 2010. I can’t help but get nostalgic seeing old clubs like this still being used by professionals.

Check out more photos of Padraig’s setup here

6) Goosen’s putter

Retief Goosen’s gamer putter used to be an Odyssey O-Works 2-ball. I’m not sure you can consider it a 2-ball putter anymore, since the crown is completely blacked out with a single white alignment line. Now it’s just the Odyssey O-Works “Goose Proto,” as I like to call it.

7) Bernhard’s tools

Bernhard Langer doesn’t use iron “sets,” per se, because he mostly crafts his bag setup by selecting individual clubs that are tasked with specific jobs and yardages to hit. As such, most of his irons are custom built exactly to his preferences. He uses Adams Idea Pro hybrids, Tour Edge Exotics CBX Forged long irons, Artisan Golf 8-9 irons, and a custom Tour Edge Exotics BL Proto pitching wedge. It’s seriously fascinating to analyze his clubs.

If you want to know more about his process and his work with master craftsman Mike Taylor at Artisan Golf, check out this story I wrote a few years back for pgatour.com.

He also uses an Odyssey White Hot 2-ball, with a heaping of lead tape on the sole and a permanent markered thick black line on the crown. As for his grip on the longer putter, he uses two split Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips.

Incredible.

More photos from the Charles Schwab Cup Championship 

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Equipment

WATCH: 5 cool things from the RSM Classic

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Equipment expert and putter maker Weston Maughan checks in with the top-five coolest things he spotted in our tour photos from the RSM Classic.

Check out Weston’s take, below.

 

View this post on Instagram

And have a look at all our photos from the RSM Classic, below.

General Albums

WITB Albums

Pullout Albums

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Equipment

Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (11/21/22): Miura CB-301 irons

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At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a set of Miura CB-301 irons.

From the seller (@KGGolf): “CB 301. Never gamed. Bought, forgot I had them and changed my mind, my loss is your gain. 4-PW(7 Clubs). Standard L/L/L Modus Tour 130 S. Lamkin Miura Grips. $1200.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Miura CB-301 irons

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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