The third Lion of Africa Cape Town Open next week at Royal Cape Golf Club will see some of South Africa’s leading international stars coming home for the start of the Sunshine Tour’s summer season.
Leading the way in terms of the Official World Golf Rankings is world number 76, George Coetzee – but he is just one of the six top 10 South Africans who will be in the Mother City chasing the winner’s share of the R1.5-million prize fund – and the added bonus of a spot for the winner in the lucrative Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City during the first weekend of December.
Regular Champions Tour star David Frost is also in the field, and he is someone who can speak of the value of an entry into the Nedbank Golf Challenge, having won it three times.
Fred Robertson, chairman of title sponsors Lion of Africa, said he was thrilled that the Cape Town Open was going into a successful third year. “It’s wonderful that so many top players are coming to Cape Town,” he said. “The people and businesses of the city have a long tradition of supporting golf, and we’re happy to be able to be part of something special as the tournament goes into its third year.”
In addition to Coetzee, who won the Joburg Open, co-sanctioned with the European Tour in February, the other top 10 South African players (and their world ranking positions) coming to Cape Town are Richard Sterne (84), Hennie Otto (120), Branden Grace (139), Darren Fichardt (159) and Thomas Aiken (161). Otto and Aiken were also winners on the European Tour this year, with Aiken taking the Africa Open in East London and Otto winning the Open d’Italia.
Sterne and Otto are both South African Open champions, and they are joined by James Kingston who won his national open in 2007 and Frost who won the title in 1986 and 1999.
Also in the field are 2012 champion Jake Roos and defending champion Tjaart van der Walt, who cruised to his maiden Sunshine Tour title in 2013.
The tournament tees off on Thursday 27 November with a full field of 156 professionals, which will be cut to the leading 65 players and those who tie on the score. The final two rounds will be played on the weekend of 29 and 30 November at the course which has hosted the South African Open Championship 10 times.