The tournament has been one of the most prestigious in South Africa since its inception in 1923, and it is set to tee off on Thursday at one of South Africa’s newest courses. Moore took the 2014 title in a marathon play-off from Ulrich van den Berg.
“I’m pleased that Eye of Africa and the rest of the sponsors have got it back on track,” said Moore, who has not had a great summer on the Sunshine Tour. But he is confident his game is getting to where it should be and he feels that he is hitting the ball well enough to contend. “It’s a course that really suits me. I’m playing nicely and just haven’t had the scores of late, but it’s coming out nicely and it’s just a matter of time until something clicks. Hopefully I’ll finish off this week nice and strong and try and defend.”
The tournament is the last before the Investec Cup, and the championship could turn out to be a pivotal one that could see certain players either gain entry or be omitted from vying for the R10-million rand Bonus Pool at Millvale Private Retreat.
Jaco van Zyl, who was champion in 2009 and 2013 and is the highest ranked player in the field, is looking forward to the new challenge of Eye of Africa. “It’s always nice to get out on a new venue and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve managed to sort out the short game and I’ve got a couple of new bats in the bag so we’ll see how they behave this week,” he said.
Keith Horne, the 2012 champion, started the year off strongly with a share of fourth at the BMW South African Open Championship. He plays out of Eye of Africa and will be hoping his home ground advantage can give him the edge this week. “I think the comfort of being at home and on a course that I’ve played a few times and being relaxed here will definitely work in my favour,” he said.
Horne is hoping to add his name to the trophy for the second time alongside the likes of Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els.