For players in this week’s Lion of Africa Cape Town Open, the tournament marks the beginning of a summer of opportunity to rack up points ahead of the season-ending Investec Cup tournament scheduled for Millvale Private Retreat from March 9 next year.
The final event in the Chase to the Investec Cup has been given a fresh face and changed from a 30-man field to a 16-man event, but it still carries a R10-million prize fund. And with the summer events on the Sunshine Tour having more points available for top finishers, any lost ground can quickly be made up by players in the quest for a spot in that elite field.
“I think the new format is something different,” said Merrick Bremner, currently in 18th position in the Chase to the Investec Cup and in need of some points to assure himself of a place at Millvale. “We’ve never had it before. It’s something to look forward to. We need to try and get into the top 16 and climb our way up that leaderboard.
“I think it’s very exciting, especially with the bigger events on the Sunshine Tour coming up now. It’s a massive incentive for us to play well and get into that top 16,” he added.
Jacques Blaauw is in 24th, and he will need to reproduce some of the form he showed earlier this year if he wants to assure himself of a chance to play for that big prize-fund. “What Investec have done for us as South Africans playing in the Investec Cup is a great initiative,” he said. “You can actually play yourself into it and if you get in, it’s a great reward.”
Christiaan Basson is actually sitting pretty in fifth spot, and he’s well aware that he needs to keep playing well to make sure he stays in contention for the R10-million. “On the Sunshine Tour for us, the Investec Cup is huge, because it’s such a big bonus if you can get into that,” he said. “If you manage to accumulate enough points, then you’re left with only 16 guys and that gives you a great chance of making a nice little bonus for the year.”
With a total of 1,500 points available at the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open, with 150 for the winner, there can be plenty of movement in the top 16 this week. All the players will be looking forward to the summer tournaments co-sanctioned with The European Tour – the Alfred Dunhill Championship, the South African Open Championship, The Joburg Open and the Tshwane Open – which give the winner 900 points out of a total available of 10,000.