The European Tour remains in South Africa this week for the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club. Home player Garth Mulroy defends but will face stern competition from Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen among others.
This is the second event of the 2013 European Tour season and the second of six to be held in South Africa. It’s a tournament that has witnessed some excellent golf and notable winners in recent years. Charl Schwartzel, Ernie Els, Richard Sterne and Alvaro Quiros have all taken the title here.
In last season’s event Garth Mulroy produced four excellent rounds to win by two strokes form Scotland’s George Murray. The South African is looking forward to a return to the event that provided the springboard for him to go on to claim the 2012 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
“It was a huge win for me last year,” he said. “It’s probably my favourite course in South Africa and I hope it can inspire me again.”
Mulroy will face stiff competition from his countrymen Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen.
Schwartzel won this event back in 2005 and has recorded four further second places since then.
This event 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. There’s a hippopotamus living in the lake by the 16th hole and waterbuck, impala, giraffes, crocodiles and leopards have all been seen on and around the course.
Back in 1995 the championship was the first European Tour event to be co-sanctioned with another tour.
Venue: Leopard Creek Country Club, Malelane, South Africa
Date: Dec 13-16
Course stats: par 72, 7,326 yards
Defending Champion: Garth Mulroy (-19)
Thursday 13 – Sky Sports 2 from 8.30am
Friday 14 – Sky Sports 2 from 8.30am
Saturday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Sunday 16 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Charl Schwartzel – He won by 11 last week in Thailand and has a fantastic record in this tournament with one win and four runner-up placings.
Louis Oosthuizen – He’s played supremely well in recent tournaments. He’s finished no worse than sixth in his last four European Tour starts. He’s been runner-up here too.
Espen Kofstad – The young Norwegian was Challenge Tour Number 1 in 2012 after winning the Grand Final. He’s an obvious talent and a good outside shot this week.
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.