While the seven South African players in the European Tour’s Qualifying School Final Stage battle for places on the big stage, nine of their compatriots will be teeing it up in the Race to Dubai’s grand finale in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai this week.
That’s 15 percent of the 60-man field playing for a fabulous purse of $8-million, and while none of them – or anyone else for that matter – is able to overtake Rory McIlroy who has won the 2014 Race to Dubai, the South Africans are all looking to finish the European season strongly after what has been something of a quiet year on the international stage.
The nine players are headed by 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who finds himself in 20th position in the Race to Dubai standings after the weekend’s Turkish Airlines Open. His victory in January’s Volvo Golf Champions in Durban, his second place in the Maybank Malaysian Open and his share of sixth in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship have kept him in the chase.
Charl Schwartzel and George Coetzee follow in 23rd and 24th. Schwartzel had a victory in last December’s Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and five other top-10 performances, while Coetzee won the Joburg Open in February to top an early-season good run of form, before a brilliant run at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in October showed a welcome return to form.
Ernie Els, with three top-10s on the European Tour this season, is in 34th, with Branden Grace next at 355th after his second place behind Oosthuizen in the Volvo Golf Champions.
Richard Sterne is at 42nd and Hennie Otto is at 47th after his victory in the Open D’Italia in August. Darren Fichardt at 54th and Thomas Aiken at 55th – he won the Africa Open in February – make up the balance of the South African contingent.