The European Tour remains in South Africa this week for the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in Malelane. Charl Schwartzel is looking for a third straight victory in the event.

Lowdown:
The European Tour remains in South Africa this week for the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in Malelane. Charl Schwartzel is looking for a third straight victory in the event.

This is the second tournament of the 2015 European Tour season and the last of the 2014 calendar year. Last week’s winner Danny Willett is in the field and will be looking to extend his lead at the top of the early Race to Dubai standings.

The event also provides the first chance for those players who made it through European Tour qualifying school to make their mark on the main circuit. Teenager Renato Paratore, who finished third at PGA Catalunya, is looking forward to the challenge.

“I am just very excited about playing my first event as a European Tour player,” said Paratore, who will turn 18 on December 14. “There are always going to be some nerves and some doubts but I hope that I can play my usual game and try to make the cut and then see what happens over the weekend.”

This tournament began life as the South African PGA, but since 2000 it’s been known as either the Alfred Dunhill Championship or the Dunhill Championship. Since 2005 it’s been played at Leopard Creek Country Club.

Designed by Gary Player, the course at Leopard Creek is in a stunning setting on the edge of Kruger National Park. Winding through the bush and grasslands past natural water hazards, the layout is famed for its plentiful and diverse wildlife.

Back in 1995 the championship was the first European Tour event to be co-sanctioned with another tour. Since then there have been some notable winners. Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Charl Schwartzel have all been champion.

Last year Schwartzel successfully defended his title, beating Richard Finch of England by four strokes. The South African has an amazing record in this event – He won in 2005 (his first European Tour title,) was runner-up in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011 before winning again in 2012 and 2013.

The weather forecast for the early part of the tournament looks decidedly unsettled and thunderstorms could well disrupt the play. The electrical activity should have moved away by the weekend though.

Venue: Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane, South Africa
Date: Dec 11-14
Course stats: par 72, 7,287 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €237,750
Defending Champion: Charl Schwartzel (-17)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 11 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30am
Friday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30am
Saturday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Sunday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 11am

Player Watch:
Danny Willett – The Englishman looked superb in winning the Nedbank Championship last week. He finished in the top-10 in this event last season.

Lucas Bjerregaard – The Dane has finished in the top-five on his last two European Tour starts. He was tied 16th in this tournament last year.

Renato Paratore – The 17-year-old is an outside shot, but he looks to have the talent to mix it at the top level and has already proved himself to be a winner. He took gold at the youth Olympics earlier in the summer and, last week won the Italian National Championship.

Key hole: 18th. A 541 yard par 5 that can be reached in two. Water comes into play on the approach – Ernie Els found it twice during the final round of 2007 and lost the tournament by a shot.