Patricia de Lille hit the first shot of the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open on Thursday, starting the tournament which the mayor of Cape Town hopes to see return to the Mother City for many years to come.
ÂWeÂve become involved because itÂs the first international tournament in 11 years that Cape Town has hosted, and with this new event we hope to continue to be a partner of Lion of Africa in taking this event forward,Â she said.
ÂI really hope that we can continue to have this every year in Cape Town, because we want to position ourselves as the best event capital on the continent,Â she added.
ItÂs been 11 years since the week when Ernie Els won the Vodacom Players Championship at Royal Cape Golf Club in the last Sunshine Tour event to be hosted in Cape Town, but 156 professionals will once again take to those fairways this week, looking to claim the maiden Cape Town Open title.
ÂItÂs such an honour to have all the golfers in Cape Town and IÂm here to welcome them. As the City of Cape Town we are so proud to be associated with this event,Â said De Lille.
The title sponsor, Lion of Africa Insurance, has put up a R2-million prize fund, which has attracted the likes of Hennie Otto and Darren Fichardt, both of whom won on the European Tour last year.
Otto, a 12-time winner on the Sunshine Tour and last yearÂs South African Open champion, was pleased to be back in the Cape.
ÂItÂs good to come back to a nice, old course and itÂs going to be a good week, having a tournament back in Cape Town. I think the people here are passionate about golf, so itÂs going to be nice to see a lot of people here on the weekend,Â he said.