It's straight back into the action as the 2013 golf season starts this week with a new event on the calender - The Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa. Royal Durban golf club is the venue and it will be an unfamiliar challenge for the majority of the field.
By all accounts, rainfall has been prominent in the area over the past couple of months and will be a big feature this week. The track plays under 7,000 yards (but longer in soft conditions), tight, exposed fairways are soft and rough is thick and wet so must be avoided. Small greens are guarded by strategically placed bunkers and if you're coming in from the long grass with approaches, prepare to be building sand castles. In short, there will be a big premium on accuracy from tee to green at the Nelson Mandela Championship this week and I've made my picks with this in mind.
2013 Nelson Mandela Championship Picks Follow me on Twitter: @Nicspicks
Remember: Bet365 are offering up to £200 in free bets to use on the golf this week
Pick #1: 1pt ew Soren Kjeldsen @ 66/1 (general) Going with the theme of accurate players who tend to excel on short courses, Soren Kjeldsen will always be on the radar. Kjeldsen closed out the UBS Hong Kong Open on a track requiring similar attributes with a 66 on the Sunday and went on to post a T26 in Dubai. One of the most accurate players on tour, form is returning and price looks big in this company.
Pick #2: 1pt ew Keith Horne @ 66/1 (general) I tipped Horne at the same price for the SA Open in a stronger field a few weeks back. He was rusty and went on to miss the cut but last week Horne posted a top ten on the Sunshine Tour which seems to have gone unnoticed in the odds. A reliable source tells me that Horne played a lot of his golf at Royal Durban when he was younger and this gives him a big advantage on the field.
Pick #3: 1pt ew David Horsey @ 66/1(general) A player in the mould of Kjeldsen, Horsey was a previous 70/1 winner for Nicspicks and if he can get the flat stick working again this week, he should go well on the Royal Durban set up. Horsey comes into the Nelson Mandela Championship having posted a Sunday 66 for a top 15 finish in Hong Kong and ranked 31st on tour in driving accuracy in 2012.
Pick #4: 1pt ew James Morrison @ 66/1 (general) Following along the same lines as the above players, Morrison comes into the Nelson Mandela Championship off the back of a top 20 in Hong Kong. Morrison is not afraid to mix it with big company which he showed at the BMWPGA when building a big lead after two rounds. Ranked 18th in driving accuracy in 2012, James looks a tasty price relative to the field.
Sleeper Watch - Thailand Golf Championship
I'm moving to Thailand and have a couple of top 10s in mind this week for my big outsiders. Two players who have shown course form at Amata Spring with qualification for the Open here in recent years are Lahm Chih Bing and Anirban Lahiri. Both have the power necessary to tackle the 7,500 yard track and have an affinity with the course. Bing shot 68-67 here in 2011 as did Lahiri this year to qualify for the Open. Bing narrowly missed out again in 2012. They can be backed for a top 10 at best currnet prices of 33/1 (VC) and 14/1 (SJ) respectively and both also worth a look in the 1st round leader marketat big odds. 1pt on each.