Hennie Otto became the leading South African after the final tournament in the year-long Chase to the Investec Cup was completed at the Tshwane Open at the weekend.
Ross Fisher of England won the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine tour and the European Tour, and Otto came fifth to earn himself 450 Chase to the Investec Cup points and finish within just less than four points of Fisher who tops the standings.
With Fisher declaring his interest in returning to South Africa to compete in the Investec Cup tournament from March 20-23 – but citing scheduling and travel concerns – Otto is the best-placed player to stake a claim for the winner’s share of the R10-million Chase to the Investec Cup Bonus Pool.
Qualification for the 30 places in that final event of the Chase to the Investec Cup was determined through a points system that incorporated all the regular-season Sunshine Tour events, beginning with the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open last April and ending at the Tshwane Open.
After the resounding success of the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup series in 2013, the 2013-14 series features a Bonus Pool which is 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.
Fisher is one of eight players in the final top 30 who is not from South Africa. Those players will have to confirm their availability of otherwise by Thursday, but with no European Tour scheduled for the same dates, it’s possible that the majority of those players will be eager to play for their share of that Bonus Pool.
The PGA Tour in the United States has the Arnold Palmer Invitational scheduled for those dates, and that will likely draw Charl Schwartzel and possibly George Coetzee from the Chase to the Investec Cup top 30.
That means those players just outside the top 30 still have an outside chance of making it into the Investec Cup tournament.
With 15,000 points to be shared amongst the 30 players in that final tournament, and 1,500 going to the winner, the players will be fighting fiercely till the very last putt. The 180 points for 30th place could be worth a lot of money.