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Lawrence wins Joburg Open and books his ticket to St Andrews 1

30th November 2021

SA golfers determined in their quest for SA Open glory.

SUN CITY, North West “The message from the South African golfers competing in this weeks South African Open Championship at the Gary Player Country Club is a simple one. It’s the South African Open. That’s the focus. Nothing more.

To win the South African Open is any South African golfer’s dream. But I also believe any international golfer who competes on the Sunshine Tour also wants to win this championship because of its history, former SA Open champion Hennie Otto said from a hot Sun City on Tuesday.

A lot of things have changed in terms of this week over the past few days. COVID-19 has made things a bit different. But I can tell you one thing that hasn’t changed it’s still going to be an incredible honour for the golfer who lifts that trophy on Sunday.

Dylan Frittelli’s respect for his national Open has only grown since he first teed it up in this championship as a 16-year-old amateur. And his resolve to win it is as strong as ever.

I’m trying to win the SA Open and that was always, and still is, my major focus coming back to South Africa,  he said.

I remember qualifying at the age of 16 years old and getting in the field for the SA Open at Humewood. Ernie Els won that week. That was my first taste of SA Open golf. In my opinion, you always come back and you play in your national Open.

I’ve got to get my name on the SA Open trophy before I stop playing golf. I’m grateful for the tournament going ahead because it could easily just have been washed away in all that’s going on and nobody would’ve said a thing. But I’m really proud of the Sunshine Tour for pushing through and getting it done. And seeing the whole field filled with South Africans is tons of fun, and we all have a lot to play for this week.

Defending champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout was also very clear in outling his focus for this week.

It’s great to be back. I have some fond memories here. I’m ready for the week, and ready to take the trophy home again.

The 111th playing of the national Open has drawn a field that also includes PGA Tour winner Garrick Higgo; former South African Open champions Brandon Stone, Richard Sterne and James Kingston; multiple DP World Tour champions Dean Burmester, George Coetzee and Justin Harding; rising young South African professionals Jovan Rebula and Martin Vorster; and South Africa’s top five amateurs led by number one Christiaan Maas.

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27th November 2021

Lawrence wins Joburg Open and books his ticket to St Andrews

JOHANNESBURG “ South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence found the silver lining at the end of a week of storms in the Joburg Open as he won his first DP World Tour title at Randpark Golf Club on Saturday.

Lawrence was crowned the winner by four strokes after it was decided that a tournament first reduced to 54 holes because of the COVID-19 red travel list announced on Friday was then further reduced to 36 holes on Saturday because of bad weather.

“It’s the best feeling in the world” said Lawrence, who won on 12 under par, with fellow South African Zander Lombard taking second on eight under and England’s Ashley Chesters and South Africa’s Shaun Norris sharing third on seven under par.

“I played unbelievable golf over the past two days. I would’ve liked to have finished with a winning putt on 18, but it was out of my control. I went out there with a mentality to finish the tournament, but it turned out nicely for me and I’m just so happy.”

This was Lawrence’s second Sunshine Tour title and his first DP World Tour title. And with it he secured an exemption into the historic 150thOpen at St Andrews next year.

“It’s a lifelong dream that’s come true. To play your first ever Major on the Old Course is an unbelievable dream come true. I’m so excited. As a kid you always want to play in the Majors. Everybody wants to break Jack Nicklaus’s record and now it’s my first Major and an opportunity in that direction. I’m ecstatic.”

Lombard and Chesters took the other two Open Qualifying spots on offer to the leading three players in the top 10 who are not already exempt. Norris is already exempt for next year’s Open.

And a victory at the end of the year means a new start for Lawrence as he now makes plans that before this only existed in his dreams.

“This changes everything. It’s life changing. This is the first stepping stone to get to my bigger dreams. From a young age I’ve always wanted to win on the DP World Tour. And now this gives me an opportunity to get to the PGA Tour quicker. I wasn’t sure where I was going to play this year and I really wanted to move onto the next step.

“The last two years with COVID-19 have been tough and you see your dreams fade. For it to change this week is unbelievable.”

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26th November 2021


JOHANNESBURG – The Sunshine Tour, DP World Tour and City of Johannesburg have decided to reduce the Joburg Open to 54 holes to help non-South African resident players, caddies and tournament support staff return to their home countries. The decision was taken to help facilitate their safe return and give them an extra day to make travel arrangements.

The move follows international travel restrictions imposed on South Africa on Friday due to the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant in the country.

Round two of the Joburg Open will resume at 06:30 (local time) on Saturday morning, with the third and final round then due to start at 09.30 on Saturday at the earliest. The third round will be a two-tee start with players grouped in three-balls.

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Determined Lawrence chasing Joburg Open glory

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence decided to focus on the red numbers on his scorecard instead of the red travel list as he surged into a four-stroke clubhouse lead in the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club.

Lawrence led at the end of a day when it was announced that South Africa had been placed on a red travel list as a result of the new COVID-19 variant in the country, and a decision was taken to reduce the Joburg Open to 54 holes and finish the tournament on Saturday in order to help European golfers affected by this to return to their countries.

The second round also had to be suspended because of a weather delay and will be completed on Saturday morning before the start of the third and final round.

Lawrence made his third eagle in two rounds on his way to a 65 and the lead on 12 under par as he now chases the biggest title of his career. His nearest challenger is fellow South African Zander Lombard who signed for a second round of 67 to head into the weekend on eight under overall. And England’s Ashley Chesters kept himself in contention with a 69 for a 36-hole total of seven under par.

On a challenging day, Lawrence kept his head down and focused on the task at hand. He made three birdies in his opening five holes, added two more at the ninth and 12th holes, eagled the par-five 14thand dropped his only shot of the day on the par-three 17th.

“It’s been great. Everything seems to be working well,” he said.

“I’ve made three eagles in two rounds so that’s six under right there. I’ve been hitting it nicely off the tee and this golf course rewards that. I’ve also been putting nicely for a change. I know this golf course quite well and have good confidence on these greens, so I’m very happy with where I am right now.”

It was another weather-interrupted day, with play suspended at 13:12 for a thunderstorm and then resuming at 15:45 before darkness brought an end to play. But Lawrence proved himself more than adept at navigating a day of storms.

“The first two holes into the wind were crucial for me. I made two nice two-putts for pars there, and then on the third I hit it to three foot for the first birdie. That gave me some momentum, and then the fourth and fifth holes were downwind and I made two good birdies there. There were a few sneaky pin positions out there but I managed to keep my approaches on the right side of the hole.”

Lawrence is already a winner on the Sunshine Tour in the 2019 Vodacom Origins of Golf in Stellenbosch. But being in with a chance in a DP World Tour event is certainly a significant moment in his career, and one he’s doing his best not to focus too much on.

“There’s obviously a lot of expectations, but I’m just going to go out and do what I do and approach my next round as just a normal day on the golf course.”

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Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour Statement on SA Summer Swing

The Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour today announced changes to the current Summer Swing of co-sanctioned tournaments in South Africa as a result of the country being placed on the travel red list of several countries following concerns around a new COVID-19 variant, and the effect this will have on the participation of professional golfers.

The Joburg Open, currently being played at Randpark Golf Club, will go ahead as planned and will finish on Sunday as scheduled as a full co-sanctioned tournament between the two tours.

The South African Open Championship, set to be played at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City from 2-5 December, will also still be played as scheduled. However, it will go ahead as a solely Sunshine Tour event with a prize fund of US$500 000.

The Alfred Dunhill Championship, which was scheduled to be played at Leopard Creek Country Club from 9-12 December, has after lengthy consultations with Alfred Dunhill unfortunately been cancelled due to the adverse effect the travel restrictions will have on the field.

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25th November 2021

Lawrence flies high with Angel on day one of Joburg Open

JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence and Spain’s Angel Hidalgo hit the top of the Joburg Open leaderboard just as the weather hit the first round of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday.

Lawrence was on six under par with one hole to play, while Hidalgo had made it into the clubhouse with his six-under 65 when the siren sounded at 17:05 for dangerous weather. The first round will resume at 6:30am on Friday.

Lawrence and Hidalgo are one stroke clear of England’s Ashley Chesters, who managed to complete his first round. And PGA Tour campaigner Dylan Frittelli is only two shots off the lead after his 67.

At the end of a day that began in chilly and windy conditions, Hidalgo was certainly pleased to finish off his round before play was suspended and to give himself a shot in a tournament of this magnitude and so early in the new season.

“It was a lot of fun. This was like my third DP World Tour event in three years, so I was a bit nervous early in my round. But this start means a lot to me. It gives me a lot of confidence. It’s great to be here and playing with the best, so let’s start the party,” he said.

The threat of Frittelli near the top of the leaderboard is a very real one, with the South African more determined than ever to perform well in front of his home fans this week. So much so that he’s taking a far more aggressive approach to this year’s event.

“I’m just going to keep smashing the driver out there. I think if I can hit driver as far as I can it’s going to benefit me. I’m just going to keep my foot on the gas. In a lot of these Sunshine Tour events I’ve been a little bit cautious and tried to just keep it in play, but now I’m just going to go at it full tilt and see where it ends up after 72 holes,” he said.

South Africa’s JC Ritchie scored the first hole-in-one of the new season when he aced the par-three 17th on his way to an opening round of one-over-par 72. But he was unlucky to miss out on the Jaguar that is on offer for a hole-in-one on the weekend of this tournament.

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Burmester tees off new era in golf at Joburg Open

Burmester tees off new era in golf at Joburg Open

South Africa’s Dean Burmester had the honour of hitting the opening tee shot of the 2021 Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club on Thursday, marking the start of the new DP World Tour season and a new era in golf, in partnership with the Sunshine Tour.

The Joburg Open is the first tournament on the newly-named DP World Tour, formerly the European Tour. South Africa is one of 27 different countries the global Tour will visit across the next 12 months.

DP World and the European Tour group earlier this month announced a ground-breaking evolution to their long-term partnership, with DP World becoming the new title sponsor of the group’s main tour from the start of this season.

“What an honour to be able to hit that first tee shot, and what better place from my perspective than back home here in South Africa,” said Burmester.

The Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, was also on hand to witness a historic moment for golf in what was also her first event since being elected.

“This is big for Johannesburg tourism and the economy. We’re very excited to be able to host such a prestigious event. Johannesburg is the economic hub of Africa, and it’s wonderful to celebrate a major occasion such as this in such a strategic city.”

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24th November 2021

Frittelli, Stone inspired to give back in chase for Joburg Open glory

JOHANNESBURG – Dylan Frittelli tees off in this week’s Joburg Open with a strong desire to give back to South African golf and to win a tournament on the home fairways where he grew up watching his own golf heroes compete.

The PGA Tour campaigner made it his priority to get back to South Africa from his American base in time to be a part of this South African Swing of three events on the DP World Tour, starting with this week’s Joburg Open and also including the South African Open and Alfred Dunhill Championship.

“I always look forward to coming back to South Africa. It’s the highlight of my year to see family and friends, and then a few familiar faces on the Sunshine Tour. And it’s important for me to give back to the South African golf community because I remember as a kid going to watch tournaments and seeing the top golfers, and I always want to support South African golf in that way as well,” he said ahead of Thursday’s first round at Randpark Golf Club.

Brandon Stone has also expressed his excitement at being back home for this three-week stretch of tournaments, which he believes offers incredible opportunities for the South African golfers.

“As South African professionals we’re blessed with incredible opportunities over these next three weeks, and indeed the next few months. We have another two co-sanctioned events on the DP World Tour that have been added to these three, and seven tournaments co-sanctioned with the Challenge Tour next year. So if you’re a South African professional, you are smiling because the lure of making it onto the DP World Tour is now within your reach. The Sunshine Tour has done an incredible job of making these events happen. We’ve got such an abundance of talent out here at the moment that I think you’ll definitely see a lot of South African flags at the top of those leaderboards. You look at our current golfers who have catapulted themselves onto bigger stages on the PGA Tour and DP World Tour, and it all started right here for them. I think it’s all shaping up to be a fantastic few months in South African golf,” he said.

As a winner of the South African Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship, it’s only the Joburg Open that Stone is still chasing in this run of events.

“Randpark has always been a challenging golf course, and one I enjoy. It’s always nice to end the year with three weeks at home, and it’s a fantastic field this week. The conditions can always be tricky here with the weather at this time of the year. I think it’s set up for a thrilling week.”

And veteran DP World Tour campaigner David Howell is just as excited about the start of the new DP World Tour season with a Joburg Open tournament where he finished second in 2015.

“It’s great to be down here in South Africa. The DP World Tour partnership with the Sunshine Tour has only been strengthened in recent years. Everyone has always enjoyed coming to South Africa to play golf. The country has wonderful courses and lovely people.”

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23rd November 2021

Burmester heads to Joburg Open hungry for more success

JOHANNESBURG – Dean Burmester will hope to keep his incredible end-of-year form going as he returns to South Africa this week for a Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club that marks the start of a new season for the DP World Tour, and with the hosting Sunshine Tour also welcoming back fans to this event.

In May, Burmester claimed his second victory on what was formerly the European Tour and is now the DP World Tour. In the last few weeks he’s won the South African PGA Championship and arrived in Johannesburg fresh off his tied sixth finish in the DP World Tour Championship last weekend.

And he’s determined to keep pushing for another victory before the year ends, especially one on home soil.

“I never enter an event if I don’t think I can win it,” said Burmester.

“It’s been a fantastic year and hopefully it can continue and I can keep showing this kind of form. I’m working hard because I just want to give my family a great life thanks to this career in golf that I have.”

Burmester has high hopes for these next three weeks in South Africa, including this week’s Joburg Open followed by the South African Open and the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

“If I can show any of the form I’m showing now, then hopefully I can contend in not just one event but hopefully a couple of them.

“But in general, the whole team at the Sunshine Tour, the sponsors and the South African government have done a great job to get these three events to be played. I know it’s difficult times, and from a player’s perspective we love playing in front of our home crowds and this is another opportunity where we get three chances. I think all the South Africans are excited to come home and give it their best shot and hopefully keep all these trophies in South Africa.”

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18th November 2021

Bezuidenhout relishing SA Open return

Christiaan Bezuidenhout will achieve another milestone in his already impressive career when he makes his first title defence as a defending champion in this December’s South African Open at Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club.

Bezuidenhout won last year’s South African Open in a golden summer for him in which he also won the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

The PGA Tour campaigner says he’s particularly looking forward to returning to Sun City and defending his title from 2-5 December.

“It was really special to tick the goal of winning the South African Open. I came close to winning it in 2016, but it wasn’t my time then. To have done it last year and put my name on that trophy alongside so many of my golf idols is amazing.

“This will be the first tournament in my career where I’m defending so I’m really looking forward to it. I really like the golf course and the atmosphere at Sun City.”

Bezuidenhout will be joined in the field by fellow PGA Tour campaigner Dylan Frittelli, who finished third behind Bezuidenhout last year, former South African Open champions Brandon Stone, Hennie Otto, Richard Sterne and James Kingston, and a wealth of Sunshine Tour and European Tour champions this year.

Bezuidenhout said he believes strongly in coming back to support the Sunshine Tour events, and particularly the second oldest national Open in golf.

“It’s always important to give back in this game and to never forget where you come from, and the path you took to get where you are now. I will always go out of my way to try and support the South African events as best as I can.”