The BMW South African Open Championship proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni gets underway on January 7, but tomorrow there will be 268 players at three courses vying for 13 spots in the 156-man field which tees off at Glendower Golf Club.
It’s one of the toughest days on the Sunshine Tour, but it indicates the prestige attached to the second-oldest open championship in world golf that so many players are willing to put themselves through a single round of golf in an attempt to qualify for a shot at the grand old trophy.
They will be up against the likes of defending champion Andy Sullivan of England )pictured above), and South Africa’s Branden Grace, the highest ranked-player in the field on the Official World Golf Rankings at 14th.
For many, it’s an opportunity to simply be able to say they have played in the South African Open Championship, but for some of the 101 amateurs, it’s a chance to join the five amateurs already in the main draw in a quest for the Freddie Tait Trophy for the leading amateur.
And for some of the veteran professionals, it’s a day of agony as they have to go through the agony of that single round in an attempt to play one more time in their national open championship – a highlight of any golfer’s career.
There will be five spots available at Benoni Country Club, and four each at Irene Country Club and Kempton Park Golf Club – and there will be 255 disappointed players.