George Coetzee put himself firmly in the picture in the Chase to the Investec Cup with his victory in the weekend’s Joburg Open, breaking into the top 30 for the first time in 13th spot.
That’s because of the high number of Investec Cup points available in tournaments co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour in the year-long build-up to the Investec Cup tournament which climaxes the season from March 20-23.
The points allocated to each event are dependent on the prize fund and the size of the tournament, and events co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour – such as the Joburg Open – have 900 points for the winner.
Qualification for the 30 places in the final event of the Chase to the Investec Cup is determined through a points system that incorporates all the regular-season Sunshine Tour events, beginning with the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open last April and ending at the Tshwane Open in March.
After the resounding success of the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup series in 2013, the 2013-14 series will now feature a lucrative bonus pool of R10-million, double that of 2013. The winner of the 2014 Chase to the Investec Cup will win R3.5-million, with the second-place finisher winning R950,000, and third R700,000, whilst 30th spot in the bonus pool pay-out rankings will take home R50,000.
Joint runners-up in the Joburg Open, Justin Walters, Tyrell Hatton of England and Korea’s Jin Jeong, also made their first appearances inside the top 30, with their hauls of 653.33 points from Royal Johannesburg and Kensington.
With just three events left in the Chase to the Investec Cup – this week’s Africa Open, the Dimension Data Pro-Am the following week, and then the Tshwane Open, players will be keeping an eye on 30th spot, and doing their calculations in an attempt to stay inside that mark in order to qualify for a share of the bonus pool.
Before the Joburg Open, Christiaan Basson held down 30th spot with 503.84 points. This week, Justin Harding, thanks to a solid share of 16th, is on the cusp, with Martin du Toit, who missed the cut, in 31st, just 37 points out of the action.
And, because the Africa Open and the Tshwane Open are co-sanctioned events, players can expect to make big jumps with good performances in those – as, indeed, they can in the Dimension Data Pro-Am, where the winner will get a cool 450 points.
For Coetzee, the wait will be a tense one as he checks to see if the Joburg Open victory will see him play in the Investec Cup in March.