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Marcel Siem
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Odds and Ends

Joburg Open: Siem Worth Chancing in South Africa

by Patrick McDonald
Updated On: November 23, 2021, 9:22 am ET

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Wave goodbye to the European Tour and say hello to the DP World Tour as our friends across the pond take on a new name. Beginning their 2022 season in South Africa for a three-week stretch before subsiding for the holidays, Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg plays host to the 14th edition of the Joburg Open. 

Co-sponsored by the Sunshine Tour, a hefty number of locals are set to tee it up on the elevated, tree-lined, par-71. With the event being part of the Open Qualifying Series, there is plenty to play for – outside of a fast start to the new season – as the three best finishers in the top 10 not already exempt will earn a spot in The Open at St. Andrews next July. 

While South Africans make up the majority of the field, there are a number of names casual golf fans should recognize such as Dylan Frittelli (+1600) who is among those at the top of the odds board. Dean Burmester may not be a household name on this side of the Atlantic, but he comes in as the pre-tournament favorite at +800 at PointsBet Sportsbook

Finishing in a tie for sixth and five-strokes behind Collin Morikawa last week at the DP World Tour Championship, the 32-year-old continued his recent run of strong play. Connecting on seven consecutive weekend showings in this tournament, Burmester has yet to collect a top 10 finish, but appears ready to do so. A two-time winner on the DP World Tour and an eight-time winner on the Sunshine Tour – most recently at the PGA Championship just a few weeks ago – he will look to add another trophy to his collection. 

While one of the longest hitters on the DP World Tour, Burmester will need to contend with others such as our first selection, Wilco Nienaber (+2500). Having played beautifully a year ago in his tournament debut, the young South African was just a few holes away from his first European Tour title.  

Entering the final round with a one-stroke lead and a -110 betting favorite at PointsBet, bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18 proved to be the eventual difference maker. Finishing at 17-under, the 21-year-old surrendered the 54-hole lead, losing by two to Joachim B. Hansen

After a horrid start to 2021, Nienaber bounced back by winning the Dimension Data Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour (co-sanctioned by the Challenge Tour). He has since lacked consistency, missing weekend play with some regularity, but appears to have steadied the ship in recent months. 

Connecting on five of his last six cuts, Nienaber has put together finishes of T-22, T-36, T-6, T-49, MC, and T-8 during this span. The reason for his success? While his effortless length always lends a helping hand, it has been the putter which has come to his aid. Posting positive Strokes Gained: Putting figures in five of his last seven measured events, the South African is a decent iron performance away from capturing his first DP World Tour title – and the first ever technically

If we are in the discussion of young players, Marcus Helligkilde (+3300) rightfully deserves to be in the conversation. Collecting four victories in 2021 – three on the Challenge Tour and one via the Nordic Golf League – the 25-year-old has been on an absolute tear since the beginning of August. 

A victory at the Vierumäki Finnish Challenge to end his summer has since been accompanied by visits to the winner’s circle at the Swiss Challenge in October and the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final just a few weeks ago. The top name on the Challenge Tour, when the Dane has decided to play with the big boys of the DP World Tour, he has fared quite well collecting finishes of T-25 at the Made in Himmerland and T-12 at the Dutch Open. 

You don’t garner such results and such consistency without an inherent steadiness throughout your game. While he does make his Joburg Open debut this week, Helligkilde should have no issues taking to Randpark GC, especially if there is an uptick in accuracy from off-the-tee. 

A player also bouncing around the old European Tour and the Challenge Tour is Marcel Siem (+5000) who most may remember from his DJ Pauly D impersonation at The Open Championship this past summer. Winning the week before at the Le Vaudreuil Golf Challenge, ze German parlayed his Challenge Tour success into a top-15 effort at Royal St. George’s. 

Since then, he made his summer home primarily on the DP World Tour, collecting quality results at the Cazoo Classic, D+D Real Czech Masters, Omega European Masters, and Dutch Open. Sputtering a bit over the last month, the 41-year-old may have hinted at a return to form with a T-15 result at the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final.  

4-for-4 in making the cut over his career at the Joburg Open, Siem's recent resurgence with the broom stick may be enough to propel him into contention. A strong striker of the golf ball and possessing plenty of firepower, the four-time winner on the European Tour has the game to get around Randpark GC effectively. 

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Daniel Gavins (+6000) is a name which immediately stuck out to me as the Englishman is in the midst of some strong, albeit erratic play. While he has missed the cut in five of his last nine starts on the DP World Tour, when the 30-year-old sticks around for the weekend, he tends to have good intentions. 

Since taking down the ISPS HANDA World Invitational in August, he’s battled to find consistency throughout his game. One week, it’s all there as evidenced by his solo sixth-place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and tie for 11th at the Andalucia Masters. The next, it is nowhere to be seen. However, his play in his last start at the AVIV Dubai Championship was enough for me to consider his prospects for the Joburg Open. 

Finishing in a tie for 44th, Gavins led the field in SG: Approach, gaining double-digit strokes on his playing competitors. Fourth from around-the-green on the Fire Course of the Jumeirah Golf Estates, the issue came with the putter in hand. Finishing 112 out of 113 in SG: Putting, the man from Leeds lost an obscene number of strokes on the greens. There was a shop hanging +10000 on Gavins all of Monday, making him an easy addition to the card as I am more than willing to chance his putting woes come to an end at such a number.

With Seamus Power in contention this past weekend at the RSM Classic, East Tennessee State was mentioned a handful of times. The story behind Power collecting the scholarship Rory McIlroy passed on is always a trendy talking point when the Irishman finds his way onto the first page of the leaderboard late into a tournament. 

Perhaps still reverberating in the back of my head, another ETSU alum in Rhys Enoch (+10000) has garnered my attention. Plenty comfortable in South Africa with Sunshine Tour victories at the 2018 Cape Town Open and 2021 Kit Kat Group Pro-Am, the Welshman arrives to his lucky continent with a decent run of consistency over the last month. 

Making four straight cuts between the Challenge Tour and the DP World Tour, Enoch’s ball-striking looked to be in a solid spot at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. Typically, more reliant on his short-game, this could be a sign of a peak performance in his near future. Finishing in a tie for 29th in last year’s tournament, Enoch struggled over the weekend, playing his final 36-holes in 2-over. 8-under at the halfway mark, he was well within striking distance and if able to play himself into a similar position, I suggest he fares better this time around. 

Lastly, I would be remiss to not include Matteo Manassero (+10000) as the Italian appears to be making strides towards his former self. Truthfully, I am not in love with +10000, but anything in the +12500 neighborhood – which probably should be said for Enoch as well – is playable as the now 28-year-old arrives to South Africa riding a Challenge Tour heater. 

Finishing in a tie for third at the Challenge Costa Brava and in a tie for eighth at the Rolex Challenge Tour Grand Final, Manassero is set to make only his second Joburg Open appearance. Missing the cut in his debut in 2016, the talent and upside which he possesses makes him more than worthy of a flier-type play.  

It is hard to believe he is nearly a decade removed from being the boy wonder who won four-times on the European Tour including the 2013 BMW PGA Championship. While that type of play may be long gone, Manassero proved with his victory at the 2020 Toscana Alps Open, he still has the game and the gumption to come through if in the mix late on Sunday. 

Outright Selections (Odds Via PointsBet):

Wilco Nienaber (+2500)

Marcus Helligkilde (+3300)

Marcel Siem (+5000)

Daniel Gavins (+6000)

Rhys Enoch (+10000)

Matteo Manassero (+10000)

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Patrick McDonald

Patrick McDonald joined NBC Sports EDGE in the spring of 2021. When he’s not chasing longshots, he’s chasing his golf ball around the local muni. You can find Patrick on Twitter @AmateurStatus.