South African golfers will seek to maintain their dominance of the Africa Open when the €1-million tournament returns to East London Golf Club in the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality from 13-16 February.
The seventh edition of this tournament, co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour, features another strong field of local and international professionals in one of the showcase sporting events of the Eastern Cape.
But since the inaugural event in 2008, no foreigner has yet been able to win the Africa Open, with the title remaining in South Africa since the triumphs of Shaun Norris (2008), Retief Goosen (2009), Charl Schwartzel (2010), Louis Oosthuizen (2011 and 2012) and Darren Fichardt (left) (2013).
This year, George Coetzee, Hennie Otto, Jaco van Zyl, James Kingston, Jbe' Kruger, Thomas Aiken and Sunshine Tour 2013 Order of Merit winner Dawie van der Walt will bolster the South African challenge against European Tour campaigners such as Mortun Ørum Madsen, Scott Jamieson and big-hitting Spaniard Alvaro Quiros.
“The Africa Open has made such great strides since its debut in 2008 as first a Sunshine Tour event and then growing to a co-sanctioned event with the European Tour. Its stature amongst our members is evidenced by the fact that it continually draws a top field, with our leading South Africans dominating against strong international competition,” said Sunshine Tour Executive Director, Selwyn Nathan.
Since its debut in 2008, the Africa Open has established itself as a major event on the international schedule occupying a crucial space on the calendar in the new year.
Not only does it offer South African professionals another chance to gain membership of the European Tour, but it also allows for a quick start on the Race to Dubai and the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit.
“The Africa Open is another prime example of the illustrious history between the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour, which stretches back to 1995. The sponsors, including the Buffalo City Municipality, deserve our sincere gratitude for their commitment to this event,” said European Tour Chief Executive, George O’Grady.