Joburg Open day 3: Sterne and Fisher Jnr open up 5-shot lead

On the eve of the final day of the 2013 Joburg Open, very little has changed after the first round of golf post-cut since yesterday.

English: South Africa (orthographic projection)

European Tour visits South Africa for the 2013 Joburg Open

Richard Sterne & Trevor Fisher Jnr have pulled a couple more shots clear and remain T1 after 54 holes of golf at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington in South Africa.

The two South Africans will take a five-shot lead over four other golfers currently T3 into the final day’s play in a few hours time.

Five out of the top six placed golfers after day three still represent South Africa, as was the case at the halfway point in this year’s Joburg Open, yesterday.

The only difference is that Jaco Van Zyl has exchanged places with Keith Horne; Van Zyl carded -5 for the day to join the three other golfers five off the pace on -14, whereas Horne shot a forgettable +1.

English: Felipe Aguilar during his participati...

Felipe Aguilar, Wikipedia, CC3.0 Sharealike

Aguilar only non-South African with shot at Joburg Open title

Chile’s Felipe Aguilar is still the only non-South African to be cutting it up with the home-grown golfers.  He remains the only genuine threat to prising the Joburg Open title out of South African hands.

It would be a brave fella indeed to back against either Sterne or Fisher Jnr failing to cross the line as champion, given their 5-shot advantage.

But Charl Schwartzel, amongst those T3 five shots back, will want to do whatever he can to win the Joburg Open for the third time in four years.  Branden Grace robbed him of a straight hat-trick last year; he’ll want to put that right, tomorrow.

I say ‘tomorrow’.  The final day tees off in less than five hours from now, with the lower half of the draw in this Race to Dubai event teeing off on the back nine at 6:30 local time (GMT +2).

The top half tee off same time on the front nine.  Oddly, unlike day three, the pairings for the final day will actually play in trios.

Van Zyl (-14/T3) joins leaders Sterne and Fisher Jnr (-19/T1) to tee off at 8:20am, making the final pairing an all-South African affair.

The other three T3 golfers, Schwartzel, Coetzee and Aguilar, set out ten minutes earlier.  For my money, Charl will be in the clubhouse praying for Sterne or Fisher Jnr to drop a shot at the last.

Can’t see it though; what about you?

  • Can anyone mount a challenge from five shots – or further – back?  
  • Or is it Richard Sterne vs Trevor Fisher Jnr all the way?

Super6 Week 24 Predictions and post-cut round-up Abu Dhabi

Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men.  In good faith I promised the rest of our Super 6 predictions in the middle of the week.

With snow, scaffold, workmen and disruption we were no sooner getting the rest of the predictions on for Week 24 than any other week.

At least the delay has presented the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone: the rest of the Super 6 predictions and a round up of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after Round 3.

Let’s start with the predictions of the rest of my Motley Crew (you can find my week 24 predictions, here). Herewith:

How unreal is this? Micky D and Ken remarkably predicted 5 of the six same scores. The only difference was the Liverpool v Norwich game.

Ken predicted 2 – 2, Micky D predicted 2 -1. The shock was not in the fact that Micky D predicted Liverpool to win a game, but the difference in the accumulator odds purely down to that one differing prediction.

Ken’s odds with SKY Bet returned at 383/1 for all six results; Micky D’s was just 87/1. I was amazed. No wonder the missus only gives me 50p e/w to bet at a time.

So there’s our predictions for Week 24 on the Super 6; now, how is Team Ten Tee 20 Vision faring at the National Golf Course in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship?

Rory & Tiger fail to make the cut in Abu Dhabi

I’m guessing there were plenty following the Woods/McIlroy/Kaymer pairing over the first two days. Of the three, only the 3-time winner of this event, Martin Kaymer, progressed.

Surprised? I’m not.

Of the ten golfers who make up the first Ten Tee 20 Vision Fantasy Race to Dubai team of the 2013 European Tour season, only two have failed to make the cut.  And they’re not Rory McIlroy or Tiger Woods.

¿Que, Señor? I dain’t pick ’em for my team, amigo.

One word – pressure.  McIlroy’s under £80M pounds worth to prove to Nike he’s worth the investment.  Tiger Woods wants desperately to be Official Golf World Ranking’s top dog, again.  Both blew it.  Tiger missing the cut by 3 shots, McIlroy by 6.

Factor in that Rory’s got to get used to his new Nike golf clubs and that he and Tiger were head-to-head in every tee box, you didn’t have to be Nostradamus to foresee their failure.

Martin Kaymer progressing to the weekend golf action, however, was a banker.  Confident, on a roll, thrice winner at the National Course in Abu Dhabi – the German making the cut was a dead cert.

The two golfers who’ve let our side down the first week of the Fantasy Race to Dubai are Ireland’s Paul McGinley and Italy’s Franceso Molinari.  Both missed the weekend action by carding rounds of 149 after the first two rounds, the cut being 144.

Our team’s best chance of glory going into the fourth and final day in Abu Dhabi is, of course, Justin Rose.  Doesn’t he always get off to a blinder?  He sits two shots clear at the top of the Leaderboard on -12 for the first three days, brandishing the UK Golf flag, heralding the 2013 challenge.

The Leaderboard with the all remaining eight golfers from the Ten Tee 20 Vision team is as follows:

FRTD - Week 1 R3 - Ten Tee 20 Vision

Race To Dubai – Week 1 R3 – Ten Tee 20 Vision

Maybe, just maybe, not everything’s wrapped up for RoMac Just yet

 

Would you believe that there are only nine events left on the European Tour this term?

Okay, there’s a little thing called the Ryder Cup in between now and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrews the first weekend of October (note to self – select Fantasy Race to Dubai Team before jetting off to Lanzarote on the 6th), but the season’s well and truly entering its final stages as we enter autumn officially on Saturday, when both daylight and nighttime last twelve hours apiece.

European Tour 2012 - Oct & Nov Schedule

European Tour 2012 – Oct & Nov Schedule
(opens as pdf with active links on click-thru)

Here’s a quick run-down of the remaining 2012 European Tour events, with all but the aforementioned trip to Scotland and the following week’s trip to Vilamoura for the Portuguese Masters taking place in the southern hemisphere. The guys and gals at the European Tour know how to get themselves out of the cool run up to winter, don’t they?

In my article for Sports Monger on the Green this weekend, I alluded to the fact that RoMac had just about got everything wrapped up for the season. But if you look at the Race to Dubai rankings, below left, there’s still a Rose that could be a thorn in McIlroy’s side, Justin time for Dubai.

If you’re taking recent form into consideration, you’d say that the Holywood man will go on to win the FedEx Cup and both money lists either side of The Atlantic. But Rose, who was Europe’s top home soil earner for the majority of the early part of the season, is only half a million Euro behind Rory. The money left on offer on the European Tour, worked out at today’s Dollar/Euro rate of $1.00/€0.69 where the purse is offered in dollar$, means that a couple of wins for Justin in the last nine events could see the lead swap again.

Of course, swapping leads will be no alien concept for McIlroy, whose pass the parcel with Luke this season for the OWGR number one spot has been well documented. But Rose will at least want to finish the season on the same number of Tour events as Rory to put him on an even footing, having currently played ten to the Northern Irishman’s eleven, before they head to Dubai for the season’s showcase finale, where a whopping £8M is up for grabs in total.

Race to Dubai - End September 2012 Rankings

Race to Dubai – End September 2012 Rankings

But the Alfred Dunhill’s three weeks away and there’s that small matter of Medinah CC in Illinois in a little over ten days time to get our heads around first before we start contemplating the OWGR, FedEx and Race to Dubai final standings. For that, at least, Luke, Rory and Justin will all be batting for the same team as Team Europe look to defend the Ryder Cup won so valiantly at Celtic Manor two autumns hence.

More on the RtD rankings later this week – Luke and Lee at tenth and eleventh respectively? Surely that’s a typo, innit? Mm, when you consider their joint lack of top twenty penetration since mid-season and Tiger’s usurping them both for the world number two spot, maybe not…