“It’s as tough as I’ve ever seen rough, but it’s what Opens are all about isn’t it?” said Ernie Els, the South African Open Championship host and ambassador. “The Open Championship, depending on weather, you can get really tough conditions. US Open you get similar conditions, so I think for a tournament of this stature it needs to be a challenge.”
Presenting the test is five-time tournament host Glendower Golf Club, which had Denmark’s Morten Orum Madsen win on a 19-under-par total back in 2013.
This time around the scoring hasn’t been easy. At the halfway mark of the €1-million tournament there were a mere 33 players under par. One year ago the scoring average after 36 holes was 72, but this time around it came in at 73.96.
“I think 18-under won here last time. You’ll definitely win with that this week!” Els laughed.
The long rough has made driving accuracy crucial this week, but the average driving accuracy at the halfway mark was 43.37 percent. That has led to plenty of big numbers and there have been 222 double bogeys or worse.
But the sentiment among the players among the players echoed that of Els.
2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel was pleased to see the track penalizing bad shots.
“I feel the South African Open should be a difficult championship. It’s such an esteemed event and to have it play like a classic tournament is just what we want,” he said.
A total of 970 birdies and 31 eagles had been scored by the 36-hole mark, so the opportunities were out there. Good shots are being rewarded and that’s the sign of a true test of golf.