When to bet
By 4.30am on Thursday
Steve Palmer’s SDC Championship predictions
1.5pts each-way 66-1 Betfair, Power
1.5pts each-way 50-1 general
1pt each-way 100-1 general
1pt each-way 66-1 general
0.5pt each-way 400-1 Hills
0.5pt each-way 300-1 Betfair, Power
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The DP World Tour has stayed in Africa, moving from Kenya to St. Francis Links, South Africa, and Jayden Schaper has been backed into SDC Championship favouritism. The youngster tied for seventh place in Kenya on Sunday and boasts course form of 5-6-10 at this week’s venue.
Steve Palmer’s top tip
Wilco Nienaber 66-1
Jayden Schaper deserves respect this week, but the market leaders can be overlooked given how much wind is forecast. Being on the golf course at the wrong time could see anyone’s title challenge blown away by coastal gusts.
The much bigger odds about another South African youngster are more appealing. Wilco Nienaber is an incredible ball-striker who seems destined for a wonderful career. The 22-year-old powerhouse has got stuck on the Sunshine Tour, but should find a way to more lucrative pastures before long.
Nienaber, who was runner-up in the 2020 Joburg Open, has had seven top-tens on the DP World Tour. He has already won on the Sunshine Tour and will be licking his lips at the prospect of attacking a venue he knows well this week.
In 2015, Nienaber finished sixth in an amateur event at St. Francis Links, then in 2017 he won a title there (the Nomads Coastal event). After 25th place in Kenya on Sunday, the Bloemfontein bomber seems ready to rumble.
Next best bet
Casey Jarvis 50-1
Another rising star who excelled at St. Francis Links as an amateur is Casey Jarvis, who was 12th there in a 2017 event and fifth in 2018. There were two amateur events at the track in 2019 and Jarvis finished 13th and second. And on his professional debut there last year in the South African PGA Championship, he finished runner-up.
Jarvis, who won everything in South African amateur golf, turns 20 in July with the world at his feet. He has Sunshine Tour form figures of 23-9-2-20 and tied 25th in Kenya on Sunday.
Dylan Mostert 100-1
JJ Senekal 66-1
Yurav Premlall 400-1
Ruan Korb 300-1
A breakthrough victory on the Sunshine Tour in June gave Dylan Mostert the confidence to finish fourth in the Mauritius Open on the DPWT just before Christmas, then last month he won on the Challenge Tour in the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship. Mostert, ninth at St. Francis in last year’s SA PGA, is a 24-year-old in the form of his life.
JJ Senekal also made his Challenge Tour breakthrough last month – in the SDC Open. His maiden Sunshine Tour success came at St. Francis in 2013 and he has posted two other top-20s there. With form figures of 14-6-1-3, the 35-year-old has taken his career to a new level.
Complete a team of South Africans with Yurav Premlall and Ruan Korb. Premlall was the best amateur in South Africa before turning pro at the end of January. The prodigy made the cut in the 2018 SA Open when he was just 15, then he became the youngest winner on the Big Easy Tour in 2019. The 19-year-old was ninth in the Dimension Data Pro-Am a month ago and fifth in the Mediclinic Invitational last week.
Korb has won twice on the Sunshine Tour, most recently at St. Francis last year, where he closed with a 63. In the last month he has finished tenth in the SDC Open and eighth in the Mediclinic.
St. Francis Links course guide
Course St. Francis Links, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Prize money $1.5m ($250,050 to the winner)
Length 7,192 yards
Par 72 – four par-fives; ten par-fours; four par-threes
Field 156 The cut Top 65 and ties qualify for round three
Highest-ranked players in field (world ranking in brackets) Adrian Otaegui (83), Thriston Lawrence (85), Adri Arnaus (93), Jordan Smith (96), Oliver Bekker (113)
Course records – 72 holes 271 Dean Burmester (2021 SA PGA Championship) 18 holes 63 Steve Surry (2021 SA PGA Championship), Ruan Korb (2022 Vodacom Origins of Golf)
Course winners taking part Jaco van Zyl, JJ Senekal, Alex Haindl, Ruan Korb, George Coetzee
When to bet By 4.30am on Thursday
Time difference South Africa is two hours ahead of the UK and Ireland
Last week – Kenya Open 1 J Campillo (33-1), 2 M Kawamura (50-1), T3 R Hisatsune (50-1), S Tarrio (100-1), T5 L Nemecz (80-1), B Virto (350-1), T7 J Brun (30-1), A Chesters (200-1), R MacIntyre (20-1), J Schaper (40-1)
Course type Links
Course overview St. Francis Links, designed by Jack Nicklaus, staged the Vodacom Origins of Golf in 2007, 2008 and from 2013 through 2018, as well as 2022, plus the SA PGA Championship in 2021 and 2022
Weather forecast Sunny and warm, with strong winds throughout, particularly on Thursday
Type of player suited to the challenge This semi-links looks set to be hammered by winds whipping in from the coast, so accuracy and control will be the keys to success
Key attribute Accuracy
Six of the last nine DPWT events in South Africa have been won by a South African
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