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Ernie Els and Tim Clark Favourites at The South African Open

Ernie Els had one of the best years of his career on the PGA Tour and now he’ll be looking to cap off his season with a win at the South African Open.

Els made over $4.5-million on the PGA Tour this season in a year that included two victories and seven top-10 finishes.

One could claim that Els, in fact, had three wins this season, as he took down the four-man Grand Slam of Golf in Hawaii in October.  That win joins victories at two prestigious PGA tournaments, the CA Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

It’s no wonder the Big Easy is the bookmakers favourite as he’s had a tremendous finish to 2010 having not missed the top-10 in his last four events.  Justly, he goes off at (8-1).

Els, however, isn’t the outright favourite being joined by countryman Tim Clark, another PGA Tour vet with a considerable history of success against the world’s best.

Clark didn’t have quite the season of Els, but he was no slouch either.  One can’t argue the negative with a man who earned $3.5 million this season in the USA, including a win at what many consider the ‘fifth major’, the Player Championship from the famed TPC at Sawgrass in Florida.

If Clark can beat a field of The Player’s caliber, he’d be expected to have success in a field that’s watered down with a lot of lesser homegrown players.

As with Els, Clark tees it up Thursday at (8-1).

Just behind the two favourites is Charl Schwartzel who was in contention last week at the Alfred Dunhill Championship before falling off on the back nine on Sunday.

Schwartzel is not at the same world beating level of Clark and Els, but he’s got considerable PGA Tour experience and won’t back down from the betting favourites.

The books obviously have some belief in the 26-year old as he’s nipping at the favourites’ heels at (9-1).

The fourth man on the board is a player with a resume that would rival some of the game’s best despite the fact Retief Goosen hasn’t won this year.  However, he’s been plenty close with a plethora of top-10 finishes so he’s by no means washed up.

He hasn’t been written off by the bookies either as they’ve got the two-time US Open champion at (10-1),

Louis Ooshuizen hasn’t exactly lit the golf world on fire since his improbable Open championship in July.

He missed the cut at the Alfred Dunhill last week after opening with a disastrous 76 in the opening round.

It seems fair the books wouldn’t expect much of him this week and, consequently, they’ve got him at (25-1).


One hundred years of experience had demonstrated that the game is temporary insanity practiced in a pasture   - Dave Kindred

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