South Africans in Sandwich

The 140th Open Championship begins at Royal Saint George’s Golf Club in Kent, England on the 10th of July 2011.

Players will compete for a share of the £5000 000 prize money and the most coveted trophy in golf: The Claret Jug.

The field contains 11 South African players, including Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and current Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen.

The Sunshine Tour gives a brief overview of the 11 South African entries’ performance records before they compete in Sandwich.

Thomas Aiken
The 28-year-old won the Open de Espana earlier this year on the European Tour. Aiken was the SA 2001 amateur of the year and his professional career includes seven SA Tour victories. In 2009 he came eighth in the Open championship, three shots behind winner Stewart Cink. This will be his fifth time playing for the Claret Jug.

Tim Clark
Has won three tournaments on the European Tour, including the Scottish Open in 2005. Clark won the 2010 Player’s Championship and came second in the Hawaii Open earlier this year. He came second in the Master’s in 2006. 38-Year-old Clark will be playing in his eighth Open Championship this year, his best result in the tournament was at Saint Andrews Golf Club in 2005 when he tied for 23rd place.

Ernie Els
Played in the last 19 consecutive Open Championships and finished in the top 10 in 12 of them. Els won the Claret Jug in 2002 at Muirfield, Scotland. Missed the cut for the first time in the 2010, but has 31 top-10 finishes in majors and was the first player to ever score under 70 in all four rounds of a British Open.

Retief Goosen
The European Tour’s leading player of 2001 and 2002, Goosen has missed the cut only twice in the 16 Open Championships he has played in. Won the US Open in 2001 and again in 2004. The ‘Goose’ has come in the top 10 in eight of his Open Championship appearances, yet has never won.

Trevor Immelman
Won the 2008 Masters by three shots in a wire to wire victory against Tiger Woods. The 2003 World Cup Winner came first in the South African Open in 2003 and 2004, making him the only player since Gary Player to successfully defend his title. 32-Year-old Immelman has not yet missed a cut in the seven Open Championships he has played in, his best result coming in 2005 when he tied for 15th place.

Louis Oosthuizen
The 29-year-old defending champion won the Claret Jug by seven shots in 2010 in his fourth Open Championship. Won the Telkom PGA Championship in 2007 and 2008, successfully defending his title. Oosthuizen took his tournament wins to six when he won the Africa Open earlier this year. 2010 was the first time Oosthuizen made the cut in the Open Championship.

Rory Sabbatini
Won the World Cup with Trevor Immelman in 2003 and has played in eight Open Championships. His best score in playing for the Claret Jug came in 2006 when he shot 284 for the tournament and tied for 26th place. Won the Honda Classic for his sixth victory on the PGA Tour in May 2011.

Neil Schietekat
Played in the 2006 Amateur Championship at Royal Saint George’s. Schietekat has 27 top-ten finishes on The Sunshine Tour, and won his place in the Open Championship with a birdie putt on the final hole of IFQ Africa. This will be 27-year-old Schietekat’s first appearance in a major.

Charl Schwartzel
Schwartzel qualified for the European Tour at 18-years-old and won the Sunshine Tour’s order of merit for three consecutive years (2005-2007). He won the Africa Open and the Joburg Open in 2010. The highlight of his career was winning the Masters at Augusta earlier this year. Schwartzel tied for 14th place at the Open Championship in 2010, the best of his six performances in the tournament.

Martin Maritz
The 6ft 5” European Tour member returned to professional golf after a three-year break and qualified for the Open Championship with a second round of 67 in the IFQ Africa event. In 2010 Maritz tied for 12th place at the South Africa Open and tied for seventh in the Nashua Masters.

George Coetzee
25-Year-old Coetzee turned professional in 2007 and has already recorded four tournament wins on The Sunshine Tour. He has had two highlights in 2011, the first a win in the Telkom PGA Championship, the second a tie for third in the BMW International Open. This will be his first time playing in The Open Championship.

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