The European Tour remains in South Africa for one further week with the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. Home player Charl Schwartzel defends the title.
This is the last and richest of the four consecutive European Tour events contested in South Africa through December and January. The Joburg Open carries a purse of €1,300,000 with over €200,000 going to the winner.
The Joburg Open is one of the few events on the European Tour schedule to be played over two or more courses. The 210-strong field for this tournament will play one round over each the East and West Courses at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, with the top-65 going on to play at the weekend.
Last season Charl Schwartzel put on an imperious display to win the title by six shots from Darren Clarke and Keith Horne.
“It was probably the best golf I’ve every played,” said Schwartzel.
This will be the fifth running of the Joburg Open. Ariel Canete won the inaugural event in 2007. Richard Sterne, Anders Hansen and then Schwartzel have been champions since then.
Venue: Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club
Date: Jan 13-16
Course stats: East – par 71, 7,590 yards; West – par 71, 7,119yards
Purse: €1,300,000 Winner: €206,050
Defending Champion: Charl Schwartzel (-23)
Thursday 13 – Live on Sky Sports 1 from 8am
Friday 14 – Live on Sky Sports 2 from 8am
Saturday 15 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Sunday 16 – Live on Sky Sports 3 from 10am
Charl Schwartzel – The defending champion has finished second, fourth and fourth in his last three Tour starts. He’s knocking on the door of another victory and it could well happen this week.
Danny Willett – The young Englishman is making his first start of the 2011 season, but expect him to come out firing in a tournament he finished fourth in last season.
Steven O’Hara – The talented Scot finished strongly at last week’s Africa Open to climb into fourth place. He’ll look to build on that good result this time out.
Key hole: 11th (East Course.) It’s a 500-yard par four and the length alone makes it a challenge. But it also requires a straight tee shot then a precise approach over water. It’s a great spectator hole and one where large scores can be racked up.
Skills required: Power hitting. At 7,590 yards, the East Course is one of the longest ever to feature on the European Tour. Long, straight drivers are at a distinct advantage here.