2023 Alfred Dunhill Championship Preview, Picks & Analysis
The DP World Tour’s South Africa Swing continues this week at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek, with home favourite Okie Strydom defending the title he won in emotional circumstances last year.
He shot a final round of 69 to finish the week on 18-under-par, beating Spain’s Adrian Otaegui and Laurie Canter of England. He had started the day level with Scott Jamieson, but the Scot stumbled to a final round of 76.
"My wife and parents are probably crying at home," Strydom said. "This is my favourite place, the course is looking phenomenal, the best I have ever seen it. It’s in the bush and I'm calm in the bush."
Leopard Creek is one of the world’s most stunning golf courses, bordering the spectacular Kruger National Park.
A strong field will assemble with the likes of Ewen Ferguson, Guido Migliozzi, Antoine Rozner and Dan Bradbury doing their best to deny a home winner.
And boy will they have their work cut out. Strydom defends his title alongside Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Jaco Van Zyl and Branden Grace.
Oosthuizen is, of course, now plying his trade with LIV Golf but remains one of the sweetest swingers of a golf club the game has ever seen. The 2010 Open Champion completed a ‘Career Slam’ of runner-up finishes in major championships when he came joint second in the 2017 US PGA Championship.
Many of those near misses remain highly memorable, from his play-off defeat to Zach Johnson in the 2015 Open Championship to his final round albatross at the 2012 Masters Tournament, which ultimately ended in a losing play-off to Bubba Watson.
He loves playing on home soil, claiming an emotional victory in 2019, which broke a near three year winless drought, when he won the South African Open for his ninth DP World Tour title.
He recorded a fifth top-ten result in major championship at the 2020 U.S. Open and the following year he was tied second at the US PGA, second at the US Open and tied third at The Open Championship. He was one of the early defectors to LIV and, in truth, has struggled for the past couple of years.
He will be looking to put things right this week.
Bradbury is fast turning into one of the most exciting talents in European golf. The 24-year-old won the Joburg Open last year and finished third in his recent title defence. In just 29 starts on the DP World Tour, Bradbury has one win, a third and four other top 10s to his name. He was fifth at the DP World Tour Championship and tied sixth at the Open de Espana. He is in a rich vein of form and it surely cannot be long before he secures his second title.
When he won the 2022 Joburg Open he was ranked 1,397th in the world. He is now up to 150th and will only continue to climb the rankings.
It was won in 2015 by Branden Grace, in 2016 by Charl Schwartzel, in 2017 by Brandon Stone, in 2018 by David Lipsky, in 2019 by Pablo Larrazabal, in 2020 by Christiaan Bezuidenhout and last year by Okie Strydom. There was no tournament in 2021.
Leopard Creek is a par 72 measuring 7,249 yards. It borders a national park which is home to a host of wildlife, including crocodiles, hippos, antelope, buffalo and elephant. There are plenty of water hazards and tree-lined fairways, so accuracy from the tee is essential. Charl Schwartzel is a four-time winner and lists Leopard Creek as his favourite golf course.
History would dictate that we are going to see a home winner and Thriston Lawrence would love to add this title to his CV but England’s Dan Bradbury is a hugely exciting talent, and is in form.
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