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Crack open the Champagne with Charl

Alex Livie November 14, 2012
Charl Schwartzel is likely to be a star attraction on home soil © Getty Images
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Click here to bet on the SA Open Championship at bet365

With the thought of your own armchair firmly in mind, there's a lot to be said about home comforts and we feel it will it will be a key factor in this week's SA Open Championship.

Apart from Richie Ramsay's win in 2011, South Africans have made off with the loot every year since 2002 - with major winners such as Ernie Els and Retief Goosen featuring on that list - and we are confident that trend will continue.

Charl Schwartzel has not won an event since he picked up the Masters in 2011, but he is one of the finest strikers of a ball in the game and there is every chance he could dominate this field.

Betting bullets

  • Charl Schwartzel E/W - 15/2 at bet365
    James Kingston E/W -80/1

He is certainly focused on victory at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate, as he said: "The SA Open is definitely one of the events I want to win in my career. When you look at the players who have won the Championship in the past, it would be an honour and a privilege to see my name alongside theirs on the trophy. South Africans have obviously got a great record in the event, so hopefully this year it can be my turn to give the home crowds something to cheer about."

It's fair to say it's not the classiest field every assembled and it is a surprise to us that Schwartzel is not heading the bookies' list. That honour falls on the shoulders of Martin Kaymer. The German has had a disappointing year by his standards, he is without a win on Tour, but he is still one of the two genuinely top-class players in the field. And a positive for Kaymer is that he has started to show signs that his ball striking is getting back towards its best and the brutal length of the track should suit. That comment applies to Schwartzel as well and we feel of the two market leaders, the home man is better suited to the task.

Hennie Otto is the defending champion and given there have been a host of repeat winners of the event, some will see him as a sporting bet at 50/1. But he is one to avoid as he has had a torrid time this year on account of a back injury.

There is an awful lot of dead wood in the event, Schwartzel's brother Atti can be backed at four-figure prices, but there is value to be had. A player that jumps off the page at 80/1 is James Kingston. He is not in the best of form, but is a previous winner of the event in 2007. He also has a huge incentive given he is 140th on the money list and needs a podium finish to secure his card for next year.

Please note that odds are correct at time of publication and are subject to change.

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Alex Livie was editor of ESPN.co.uk