At last week’s Open Championship there were eight South Africans in the field. This week the next wave of local stars will tee up at the M2M Russian Open, which has six Sunshine Tour players in the field led by six-time Sunshine Tour winner Jake Roos.
Future stars abound in the group headed for Russia, including Haydn Porteous, who has four top-five results in his rookie season and heads to Tseleevo Golf Club on the back of a sole second finish at the Sun City Challenge.
Merrick Bremner finished third at Sun City and joins the local pack as they head for Moscow, where the three-time winner is likely to feature.
Bremner plays out of The Els Club at Copperleaf and is joined by fellow club member Louis de Jager, who’s taken advantage of invitations to play in both the United States and Europe over the past two years.
The tried and tested Oliver Bekker, who competed at the 2012 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, will also tee up in Russia this week. He’s joined by Jaco Ahlers, who won in a playoff at Erinvale back in 2009.
Roos is the king of sudden-death and his first five professional victories all came from playoffs. This season he’s won twice on the European Challenge Tour and currently ranks fourth on the Order of Merit.
His first win came at the Barclays Kenya Open in March, where he shot 70 on Sunday to finish at 10-under-par for the week, one shot clear of Lasse Jensen and Adrien Bernadet.
Four months later the Centurion local picked up his second win of the year at the Aegean Airlines Challenge Tour. That secured fourth place on the Order of Merit for Roos and he's retained the position since then.
This week the prize pool is €1,000,000 and there is plenty at stake for the 33-year-old, who stands a good chance of lifting the trophy. Should he win it would secure a year’s full exemption onto the European Tour.