The European Tour heads back to South Africa this week for the inaugural Tshwane Open at Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate. Major champions Darren Clarke, Jose Maria Olazabal and Michael Campbell headline the field.
This will be the sixth European Tour event of the 2013 season held in South Africa and there will be strong representation from the home nation as South African players look to follow Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Richard Sterne and Darren Fichardt into the winner’s circle on home soil.
With the Accenture Match Play last week and the Cadillac Championship next, many of the European Tour’s best have remained in the USA this week. As such, this tournament provides an opportunity for some of the circuit’s lesser lights to shine. There’s also an opportunity for players from South Africa’s Sunshine Tour to make an impact.
The course at Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate was designed by Ernie Els and, at almost 7,800 yards, is one of the longest on the European Tour schedule. Built on land owned by Els’ grandfather, the layout is a fine example of a “Highveld grassland” layout.
South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl comes into this event in great form after winning the Sunshine Tour’s Dimension Data Pro-Am last week.
“I’ve been getting better every week, and now I’m really looking forward to the Tshwane Open,” he said. “To go there on the back of a win gives me great confidence that I can get my first victory on The European Tour.”
Other home players looking to strike include Darren Fichardt, James Kingston and Thomas Aiken.
Venue: Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate, Centurion, South Africa
Date: Feb 28 – Mar 3
Course stats: par 72, 7,791 yards
Purse: €1,500,000 Winner: €237,750
Defending Champion: Inaugural event
Thursday 28 – Sky Sports 1 from 8.30am
Friday 1 – Sky Sports 1 from 8.30am
Saturday 2 – Sky Sports 3 from 10.30am
Sunday 3 – Sky Sports 3 from 10.30am
Tjaart Van der Valt – The experienced South African will be looking to follow his countryman who have already tasted European Tour success in 2013. He was tied fifth in the Africa Open.
Max Kieffer – The young German has played solidly on the European Tour so far this year following his tied fourth place in the Nelson Mandela Championship. He’s a talented player and this event could be the perfect chance for him to take a step up the ladder.
Oliver Fisher – He’s a fine player and has been out of the limelight too long. He started well in the Joburg Open with a pair of 68s before fading slightly over the weekend. Look for him to put four solid rounds together this time out.