South African Open Golf 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

The new DP World Tour season continues to spark into life this week when another co-sanctioned event takes place with the Sunshine Tour as the opening swing continues with the South African Open out in Johannesburg.

The home man Thriston Lawrence won this tournament a year ago and he’ll be looking to wind down his 2023 campaign with a win to successfully defend his title but much like last week, a solid enough field will be out to stop him.

Recent Winners

2022 – Thriston Lawrence

2021 – Daniel van Tonder

2020 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout

2020 – Branden Grace

2019 – Louis Oosthuizen

2018 – Chris Paisley

2017 – Graeme Storm

2016 – Brandon Stone

The Course

We are back at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate in Johannesburg this week. This is the second time the course has been used on the DP World Tour and it has to be said it is a bit of a monster. It has been used on the Sunshine Tour once before but most of the players in the field will still be getting used to the track. The course is a par 72 but it is the third longest in the world at some 8,233 yards. It should be said we are at altitude though so it doesn’t play to quite that yardage but it is still long.

The course is fairly flat and wide open so those who like to ride the driver should be able to do that but players who rely on accuracy will be pleased to know that there are 11 water features on the course and they are all in play so they are going to need to navigated successfully. As ever in this part of the world the overriding factor is distance control but these greens are pretty big and so a hot putter is welcomed as well.

The Field

With an event out in Australia and Tiger hosting his tournament this week we don’t have the best field we’ve ever seen on the DP World Tour lining up here. We are closing in on Christmas as well and some big events come immediately after so the bigger names are in hibernation for a while now. That leaves us with just the one player in the top 100 in the world rankings teeing it up in Joburg this week. That is the defending champion Thriston Lawrence.

A number of players in this field opened up their new season with top 10 finishes last week and therefore have the early advantages in the Race to Dubai standings. Darren Fichardt came second at the Joburg Open and he is one of five other top 10 players in the early ratings. Dan Bradbury, Jacques Kruyswijk, Zander Lombard and Gavin Green are the others. Dean Burmester won that tournament and he is looking for successive wins here.

Market Leaders

Dean Burmester won the season opening event at the Joburg Open last week and the LIV Golf player is a 15/2 favourite to double up in as many weeks. That is never an easy thing to do but I guess if it is going to happen it could well be when the bigger names are having a week off. The South African certainly has the tools to win here and finished fifth in this tournament a year ago but winning takes something out of a player and that is why it is rare for the same player to win two weeks in a row. That puts me off backing him.

Thriston Lawrence knows how to win around here having won the tournament a year ago and he is 14/1 to make a successful title defence. He opened up his new season with a top 10 finish at the Joburg Open last week so he will begin his title defence in good form but titles aren’t defended very often either which always puts me off taking defending champions, especially when their time is often taken up ahead of the tournament. I’d expect a solid title defence though.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout was fancied to go well at the Joburg Open last week and he nearly justified his supporters with a place but ultimately had to finish with a T9 effort. He is 18/1 to go a few steps better this week but he’ll be playing the course for the first time as a DP World Tour setup as he missed the event last year. The big question mark over the South African is whether he has the required length around here. I’m not sure he does so I’m happy to leave him alone.

Dan Bradbury put up a solid defence of his title last week and will head across Johannesburg hoping to follow it up with a second DP World Tour crown. He comes in here in very good form having finished in the top 20 of his last five events to close out last season and begin this one. He is another who is playing the course for the first time this week as he understandably skipped the event a week after winning a year ago. He is 20/1 and that feels an acceptable price.

Main Bets

Zander Lombard was one of my main picks last week and he came home with a top four finish and he might be able to go even better this week with his length much more of an asset around here. It might be a negative that he is playing this track as a DP World Tour setup for the first time but those who played it last year have no more than four rounds of experience on it so I don’t see that being a bad thing. Lombard is long off the tee, and I mentioned last week how well he is hitting his irons at the minute. He finished in the top 20 for strokes gained putting last week too and when you stick all of that into the pot it should lead to another very strong showing from the South African.

Gavin Green is my other outright bet this week. He is very long off the tee and that length is certain to help him this week and potentially help him more than what it did last week. Like Lombard, he is playing the setup for the first time but he arrives here in decent touch after a T7 at the Joburg Open last week where he shot -9 for the weekend. He led the field in strokes gained putting last week and last year that was one of the main separators at the top of the leaderboard. That makes me think that he is a decent price to come out on top here.


I’ll play a couple at decent prices this week as well. It might be that Darren Fichardt isn’t long enough to tame this beast but in firmer conditions if that can help him where he needs it to then we know there is nothing wrong with the putter. The South African was second in the Joburg Open last week where he ranked inside the top 20 for strokes gained putting. He was six under at halfway here last year and in a nice position to have a good go at the title but the weekend saw him unravel, however after the confidence of last week I would expect four decent rounds from him here at the very least. I’ll pay to see how they stack up if he delivers them.

Chase Hanna is my final bet this week. He was fifth here last year and that probably wasn’t too much of a surprise because he can give it a right good whack off the tee and that length should serve him very well here. It is only five weeks ago that the American had a top five finish at the Andalucia Masters and he put three decent rounds together to open up the event last week before a poor Sunday saw him drop down the field. He still ranked sixth for strokes gained putting in that tournament and length and a hot putter is the ideal combination this week. I’ll pay to see how far that gets him here.


Back Z.Lombard to win South African Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 21.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)

Back G.Green to win South African Open (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)

Back D.Fichardt to win South African Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 81.00 with Betway (1/5 1-7)

Back C.Hanna to win South African Open (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Betfair (1/5 1-7)