With the new Fantasy Race to Dubai season starting this week (register your team HERE) we at Europeantour.com have provided a helping hand, selecting three players worth considering this week at the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.
Favourite: Branden Grace
How do you follow a year in which you recorded the lowest Major Championship round in history and won a Rolex Series event on your home turf? That’s the challenge facing Branden Grace has gets his 2018 season under way at Glendower Golf Club on Thursday. The South African’s 62 at Royal Birkdale last summer leaves him in an exclusive club of one to have posted that score in a Major, but that proved to be just the beginning. His one-shot victory at the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player was his eighth European Tour win and rounded off a memorable year. Confidence should be sky high.
Grace has previous in this event, too. He finished in a share of fourth in 2016 and was 15th the year before. Traditionally, South Africans have fared well in this event, with five of the last ten winners hailing from the host country. Grace has four titles in South Africa to his name and looks in good shape to make the BMW SA Open his fifth.
Form horse: Dylan Frittelli
Rookie years don’t come much better. Frittelli won a first European Tour title and secured a top 20 berth in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex in 2017, before winning just the second event of the new season at the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in December. The sky could be the limit this year for the University of Texas alumnus. He finished last season with two top fours in the final three events of the season -both Rolex Series tournaments - and looked every inch a contender alongside more established players.
Frittelli has a stroke average of 68.5 in his first three events of the season and is 29 under par for those 12 rounds. If he is to lower his average this week, he will need to improve on his 18th place finish at Glendower in 2016, his best result in this event. On a course that measures 7,594 yards, Frittelli could have an advantage off the tee - the 27 year old was 20th in driving distance last season. Much is expected from the Joburg native, so a second victory in four events would really get the golf world talking.
Wildcard: Søren Kjeldsen
Overall 2017 might not have been the year that the Dane wanted but results towards the end of the season, including a top 15 at the Nedbank Challenge, suggest that the four-time European Tour winner is trending in the right direction. Known as one of the hardest working players on Tour, and following a long off-season, it's likely Kjeldsen's game will be sharp heading into his opening tournament of 2018.
With the course notably firmer than last season, Glendower will place an emphasis on driving accuracy. Add to the fact that the rough is again up as it was last year, Kjeldsen will be looking to take advantage after finishing the 2017 season inside the top 10 in driving accuracy.
For more information on the European Tour Fantasy Race to Dubai game click HERE.