The European Tour remains in South Africa for one final event in 2015 – the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club. England’s Ross Fisher is the defending champion.

Lowdown:
The European Tour remains in South Africa for one final event in 2015 – the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club. England’s Ross Fisher is the defending champion.

There’s a new venue for this year’s Tshwane Open – the historic Pretoria Country Club in the suburb of Waterkloof. The club has a history dating back to 1910 and the golf course was redesigned by South African legend Gary Player in 2004. Pretoria has hosted several tournaments on the Sunshine Tour, but this will be the biggest event it has staged.

This will be just the third running of the Tshwane Open on the European Tour. The inaugural tournament was won in 2013 by home player Dawie Van Der Walt. Last season, England’s Ross Fisher played four steady rounds to take a fifth European Tour title, after almost four years without a win on Tour. Fisher is looking forward to defending his Tshwane Open crown.

“I’ve been in pretty decent form this season, I played really well in the Nedbank at the start of the season and then had some reasonable results in the Desert Swing at the beginning of the year,” he said. “After that I took some time off and am feeling nice and fresh now, so I’m going to Pretoria in pretty good shape, both mentally and physically.”

Many of the European Tour’s best have remained in the USA this week after last week’s WGC – Cadillac Championship. 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.

Having said that, there are some quality players in the field at the Pretoria Country Club. England’s Andy Sullivan will be looking for a third win on South African soil having already won the South African Open Championship and Joburg Open this season.

Other big names on the start sheet include 2016 European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke and Italy’s Matteo Manassero.

The weather for the week looks mostly pleasant but the forecast mentions possible thunderstorms on both Thursday and Sunday.

Venue: Pretoria Country Club, Waterkloof, South Africa
Date: Mar 12-15
Course stats: par 72, 7,063 yards
Purse: €1,410,000
Defending Champion: Ross Fisher (-20)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 12 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30am
Friday 13 – Sky Sports 4 from 8.30am
Saturday 14 – Sky Sports 4 from 10.30am
Sunday 15 – Sky Sports 4 from 10am

Player Watch:
As this is a new track for the European Tour, it’s difficult to predict who will play well. So let’s just go on immediate form:

Morten Orum Madsen – The Dane has played some good golf already this year and was tied third last week in the Africa Open. He was also tied fourth in the Dubai Desert Classic.

Eduardo De La Riva – The Spaniard was also tied third last week in the Africa Open. He hasn’t played that well for a while on Tour but a tied third in the 2013 French Open shows he can mix it with the best.

Jorge Campillo – The other man who tied for third last week, Campillo looked strong as he closed with a 66. The Spaniard has missed only one cut on the 2015 European Tour.

Key hole: 18th. Played as a par-5 for the members, this will be a very demanding par-4 for the players in this tournament. Stretching over 500 yards, it will require two solid blows to reach in regulation. Pot bunkers are a threat on both drive and approach. A player needing a par here to win will have a tough task ahead of them.