It’s the last European Tour event of 2017 this week. Darren Fichardt is defending champion in the Joburg Open to be contested at the Randpark Golf Club.

A strong contingent of home players plus others from all over the world will do battle in the 12th running of the Joburg Open. Darren Fichardt defends the title against a field that includes some excellent players from the European, Sunshine and Asian tours.

This event has been a fixture on the European Tour since 2007 and it’s been dominated by South African players since then. Of the 11 editions of the tournament, eight have been won by home golfers. Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne have each claimed the title on two occasions.

Callaway Apex MB vs X Forged 2017 irons

 

Last season, Darren Fichardt took the title. With rain shortening the event to 54 holes, the South African claimed his fifth European Tour victory – He finished one clear of Welshman Stuart Manley and England’s Paul Waring.

The home nation will be well represented once again at Randpark. Darren Fichardt defends his title and will be joined by fellow South Africans, Dylan Frittelli – fresh off the back of his win last week in Mauritius, George Coetzee and 2010 Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen. Other than those stand out names, there are more than 75 further South African golfers on the start list.

Randpark is a new venue for this event. All previous editions had been contested at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington GC. But with renovation work being carried out at Royal Joburg, Randpark has stepped into the breach.

This event has moved in the schedule for the 2018 season. It was played in February earlier this year so it’s just 10 months since Darren Fichardt claimed the title.

With 240 players starting, this event provides a great chance for a lesser light to shine on the big circuit. Among those in the field this week are players who have come through 2017 European Tour Q School. Headed by Sam Horsfield of England, this is a great opportunity to make some early headway towards earning an established position on tour.

The weather forecast looks decidedly mixed with thunderstorms a possibility on Friday and Saturday.

Venue: Randpark Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
Date: Dec 7-10
Course stats: par 72, 7,595 yards
Purse: €1,151,000
Defending champion: Darren Fichardt (-15)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 7 – Sky Sports Golf from 8.30am
Friday 8 – Sky Sports Golf from 8.30am
Saturday 9 – Sky Sports Golf from 9.30am
Sunday 10 – Sky Sports Golf from 9.30am

Player Watch:

Dylan Frittelli – He’s on hot form right now having won last week in Mauritius after solid showings in both Turkey and Dubai. Look for him to try and go back-to-back on home soil, in his home city.

George Coetzee – He’s been on solid form since September when he was tied third in the KLM Open. Since then he hasn’t missed a cut on the European Tour and he was tied ninth last week.

Louis Oosthuizen – Showed spells of mesmerizing form in Mauritius and would have challenged had it not been for a late slip. It’s about time Louis won again and this could be the week.