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Pecanwood Classic Preview, Picks & Analysis

By: | Mon 07 Mar 2022 | Comments

ANOTHER week, another new tournament on the DP World Tour circuit. The Pecanwood Classic will make its debut as a co-sanctioned tournament between the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour at the Pecanwood Golf & Country Club from March 10-13. The new tournament will feature a prize fund of $1.5 million and the field of 156 professionals will be split between Sunshine Tour and European Tour golfers.

“We’re delighted to welcome Pecanwood Golf & Country Club as the home of the new Pecanwood Classic on our Tour,” said Thomas Abt, commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

“As South Africa’s first Jack Nicklaus signature golf course, Pecanwood set a new benchmark for golf courses in South Africa when it opened, and we are extremely pleased to finally bring a major international Sunshine Tour and European Tour tournament to its fairways.

“The Pecanwood Classic will be played in an important window for us in March and gives us a very strong finish to our summer schedule while at the same time providing our Sunshine Tour professionals with yet another big opportunity to compete for a place on the European Tour.”

Since its official opening in 1996, the Pecanwood golf course has welcomed several amateur and professional tournaments to its fairways on the banks of the spectacular Hartbeespoort Dam and within an hour’s drive of both Pretoria and Johannesburg.

The Pecanwood Classic is a significant milestone in the golf course’s history and adds to the country’s already strong presence on the European Tour’s international schedule with a total of six South African tournaments now co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour.

“We’re extremely excited to launch the Pecanwood Classic as an international tournament that will truly showcase the Pecanwood Estate’s status as one of South Africa’s first and still leading golf estates, offering a choice lifestyle in prestige and secure environment,” said Morne Botha, general manager of the Pecanwood Estate Homeowners’ Association.

“We have no doubt that the backdrop of a world-class golf course, and a lifestyle estate offering everything from golf to boating, will captivate the golfers and the international audience as much as it does our residents who call this magical piece of Africa their home.”

Bernd Wiesberger

(Image Credit: Kevin Diss Photography)

Europe’s best players are otherwise engaged at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass this week. Bernd Wiesberger would have expected to be in the field but his world ranking has slipped to 67. He needs to find his way back into the top 50 soon if he is to guarantee his spot in all four majors this season.

An eight-time winner on the DP World Tour, Wiesberger will surely be inspired by his fellow Countryman Sepp Straka’s victory in the Honda Classic. I would have bet serious money on Wiesberger being the first Austrian to win on the PGA Tour - and I would have lost. Wiesberger finished in a tie for second place at the Dubai Championship in November but his form since then has been pretty patchy, and he will be keen to put that right - and soon.

Richard Bland’s fairytale continues. He won the British Masters last year, his maiden victory at the 478th attempt. And he has continued to play some superb golf. He is now up to 55th in the world rankings after finishing second at the Dubai Desert Classic, a Rolex Series event that rewarded him with much gold. Bland has long accepted that he doesn’t hit the ball 300 yards but there are few better wedge players anywhere than the veteran Englishman. Don’t bet against him landing a second DP World Tour title soon.

There is a plethora of South African talent on the DP World Tour just now and a number of them are playing this week, including two-time winner Dean Burmester. He hits the ball into the middle of next week and has shown some decent recent form. He finished in a tie for sixth place at the DP World Tour Championship, was 55th at the Dubai Desert Classic after a miserable final round of 77 and finished second at the Dimension Data Pro-Am.

Keep an eye open for JC Ritchie, who has enjoyed a purple patch on the Sunshine Tour, finishing eighth at the Joburg Open, fourth in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, before back-to-back victories at the Cape Town Open and Workwear Open. Ritchie is a prodigious talent and it is only a matter of time before he enjoys a breakthrough victory on the DP World Tour.

Tournament Winners

This is the first staging of this event

Course Guide

Pecanwood Golf & Country Club is a par 72 measuring 7,647 yards. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, it is located on the banks of the Hartbeespoort Dam. The fairways are pretty generous and although the course is pretty flat there are several man-made mounds and lots of water features. The signature hole is the 13th, a par three measuring 205 yards that plays alongside the dam to a green flank don both sides by bunkers.

Form Guide 

After successive wins on the Sunshine Tour, JC Ritchie is ready to take the next step. He is highly rated in his native South Africa and will, of course, be playing on home soil. He could be hard to beat. But he will face stiff opposition from a host of Europeans with a point to prove, led by Bernd Wiesberger.

To Win:

JC Ritchie. Ready for first DP World Tour success

Each Way:

Bernd Wiesberger. Looking to get back into the top 50

Each Way:

Dean Burmester. All depends on whether he has his putting boots on

Golfers to Follow:

JC Ritchie. Knows how to win

Bernd Wiesberger. Glorious swing

Dean Burmester. Impressive ball striker

Richard Bland. One of the great stories

Five Outsiders to Watch:

Wilco Nienaber. Huge talent, dogged by inconsistency

David Drysdale. Veteran still looking for that elusive first win

Scott Jamieson. Card already secured, so the pressure is off

Jamie Donaldson. Veteran who is still capable of mixing it with the best

Fabrizio Zanotti. Has yet to miss a cut this season

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Tags: european tour dp world tour


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