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30th November 2022

Blair Atholl will be “a beast” for Investec SA Open field

LANSERIA, Johannesburg (Gauteng) – It’s been described as “strong”, “a beast”, and “massive”. At 7 462 metres, the Blair Atholl Golf & Country Estate course that will host this week’s Investec South African Open is the longest in DP World Tour history. And it is certainly going to be a worthy adversary for this star-studded field.

Considering it was designed by Gary Player, the winner of a record 13 of his national Opens, it is perhaps only right that this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour field here this week should expect a test worthy of the 112thInvestec South African Open.

When PGA Tour campaigner Dean Burmester, one of the longest hitters in the game, says it’s a long course, that is also enough of a warning to the rest of the field.

“It’s long. You’ll see quite a few long hitters in contention this week for sure. Whoever is coming to watch, wear a good pair of trainers. But it’s in great condition. The golf course lends itself to some good mid-iron play, and the greens are great,” Burmester said.

“Oh it’s massive,” said last week’s Joburg Open champion Dan Bradbury. “We’re going to be putting the mid- to long-irons to work this week. Sometimes we tend to just use the top end and bottom end of the clubs in the golf bag, and the middle kind of gets forgotten about. I like a mix. This week it’s nice to be hitting a lot of seven and six irons into greens. As much as it’s harder it’s nice to mix it up.”

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel believes a solid iron game will be key to success this week as he hunts a maiden win in his national Open following several near misses, and on a golf course where he used to have a home.

“It’s one of the longest golf courses in South Africa. I’ve always thought that it’s a second shot golf course. The greens are the defence. They’re big but they’ve got angles to them which means you need to be pretty precise with your distance control. Good iron play will serve you well,” he said.

Brandon Stone, looking for a second victory in his national Open, said, “I think Blair Atholl will be an absolute test of the game. It’s a beast. The Blair Mile on the back nine is a true test of ball striking. You cannot miss a shot there. A par on those few holes is great. If the wind gets up the course will be even tougher.”

But as far as Dylan Frittelli is concerned, that’s exactly the way it should be for the second oldest national Open in golf.

“This is the Investec South African Open – we don’t want 23 under par winning, so make it as tough as it can be,” he said.

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Els headlines Major field for Alfred Dunhill Championship

Ernie Els will lead an incredible field of Major winners and former champions of the Alfred Dunhill Championship when this prestigious €1.5 million tournament is played at Leopard Creek Country Club from December 8-11.

Els, a four-time Major champion and former world number one, returns to Leopard Creek as the winner of the 2005 Alfred Dunhill Championship and runner-up in 2007.

The South African will be joined in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament by former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who is a record four-time winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship and also has four runner-up finishes in the tournament.

Schwartzel also holds the record for the biggest margin of victory in the tournament with his 12-stroke triumph in 2012 as well as the lowest tournament total of 24 under par that same year.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, adds to the Major winners in the field and is seeking his first Alfred Dunhill Championship title after coming close with a second place in 2005.

The list of former Alfred Dunhill Championship winners in the field is also impressive, including Branden Grace, the only player to have won both the Alfred Dunhill Championship and its sister tournament the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland, and Brandon Stone, Pablo Larrazabal, Richard Sterne and defending champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout.

The tournament will also feature Shaun Norris, the winner of the Sunshine Tour’s Luno Order of Merit last season, Thriston Lawrence, the first South African to ever win the DP World Tour’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award, DP World Tour winners George Coetzee and Joachim B Hansen, PGA Tour campaigners Erik van Rooyen and MJ Daffue, and rising South African star Casey Jarvis.

The local South African challenge for one of the flagship tournaments on the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour includes every single winner on the Sunshine Tour this season, with Coetzee and Albert Venter both having won twice on the Tour this season already.

South Africa’s top amateurs will also compete led by current number one Yurav Premlall, who together with Aldrich Potgieter, winner of The Amateur this year, Kyle de Beer and Christiaan Maas make up four of the top five players on the current GolfRSA rankings.

The Alfred Dunhill Championship continues to have an equally significant impact outside of the ropes. One of the primary beneficiaries of Alfred Dunhill’s proud history in golf is the South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB). Both the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship donate tournament proceeds to the SAGDB.

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29th November 2022

Stone predicts strong SA challenge in Investec SA Open

LANSERIA, Johannesburg (Gauteng) – Brandon Stone predicts that this week’s Investec South African Open at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate will be a true showcase of the growing strength of South African golf.

Stone returns as the 2016 winner of the second oldest national Open in golf and forms part of what he says is a field and a week that is going to display everything of the strength and future potential of South African golf.

“I have no doubt there will be a strong South African showing this year. You look at the field and the South Africans in there, and then a championship golf course designed by Gary Player, and I think this is one week where the fans can come and see first-hand how South African golf has moved to another level over the past few years. With the amount of golfers we have shining on the global stage, this is only a taste of what this country’s golfers have to offer for the years to come. I’ve just got a real feeling that this year’s Investec SA Open will be a true showcase of this,” said Stone.

The South African challenge this week is indeed a tantalising one and includes Charl Schwartzel, Dylan Frittelli, MJ Daffue, Branden Grace, Thriston Lawrence, Erik van Rooyen and Dean Burmester.

A second title this week would see Stone join a select group including Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Mark McNulty, Tony Johnstone and David Frost as having won their national Open twice.

“Being privileged enough to have my name alongside the likes of Ernie Els, Gary Player, Louis Oosthuizen, Branden Grace and so many others is something I hold very close to my heart. Any time you get to win your national Open it’s something special in your golf career. I know this year there will be a lot of top South African golfers looking to add their names to the trophy. I’m looking to get my name on there again,” he said.

And Stone said he is looking forward to the challenge that the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate course will pose.

“I think Blair Atholl will be an absolute test of the game. It’s a beast. The Blair Mile on the back nine is a true test of ball striking. You cannot miss a shot there. A par on those few holes is great. If the wind gets up the course will be even tougher.”

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28th November 2022

Momentum to keep Sunshine Tour golfers in good health

The Sunshine Tour and Momentum Health Solutions have partnered to provide the leading top 50 golfers with medical aid coverage and a range of other wellness benefits suited to professional athletes.

The initial two-year sponsorship deal will see those professionals who ended in the top 50 on the final Order of Merit in May 2022 receiving cover for the 2023 calendar year. Those players who finish in the top 50 by the end of May 2023 will then receive the same for the 2024 calendar year.

Beyond the traditional private medical aid offering, the additional benefits for the leading Sunshine Tour professionals will be access to Momentum’s Multiply wellness programme and HealthSaver account which provides for the opportunity to save for additional day-to-day medical expenses.

“This partnership with Momentum Medical Scheme and Momentum Health Solutions is critical in light of the consistent pressure our players are under to protect their health,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

“Not only is it important for them to look after their physical health but also to ensure that their wider wellness is being taken care of by removing the cost of medical aid cover and providing them access to a range of health support services unique to their individual needs.”

Commenting on the sponsorship, Damian McHugh, CMO at Momentum Health Solutions, said, “We are aware that for sports men and women their health is their most valuable asset, and as such we are happy to provide support to them where it matters most. As a company we have demonstrated our commitment to a variety of sports in South Africa, creating opportunities for players to place their health and wellness first.”

Photo: Damian McHugh, CMO at Momentum Health Solutions (left) and Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, celebrate the partnership that will bring a new level of wellness to the Tour’s leading professionals.

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27th November 2022

A dream win for Bradbury in Joburg Open

JOHANNESBURG –  England’s Dan Bradbury claimed a wire-to-wire victory in the Joburg Open for his first DP World Tour title in only his third start at Houghton Golf Club on Sunday, and one of his first priorities was to find somewhere to get his laundry done. A one-week trip to South Africa had suddenly become the start of a new career.

Playing on a sponsor’s invitation into the Joburg Open and with no status on any tour anywhere in the world, Bradbury took his chance from day one and never looked back as he closed out his maiden professional title with a final round of 67 to win by three strokes on 21 under par.

“I was meant to be on a flight out this evening but happily that’s changed. I didn’t even pack enough clothes for more than one week. I’ve got the kids here asking for my cap but I only packed one for each day,” said a delighted Bradbury, who now moves on to this week’s Investec South African Open.

Finland’s Sami Välimäki took second place on 18 under par with a final round of 69, and South Africa’s Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Daniel van Tonder shared third place on 17 under par following respective rounds of 66 and 68.

Bradbury also secured himself a spot in his first Major as one of the three leading professionals who qualified from this event for next year’s 151st Open at Royal Liverpool. Välimäki took the second spot, with Bezuidenhout taking the third by virtue of his higher world ranking over Van Tonder.

“I can’t tell you how it feels because it hasn’t sunk in yet. It means the world to me,” said Bradbury, who struggled to process just what this week has meant to him. “I wouldn’t have anywhere to play in the world without this. It’s been life changing. I’m going to play everything. I love playing.”

It was a composed performance all week from the Englishman who overcame weather delays and some strong charges on his lead to eventually triumph. Even on the final day he showed tremendous composure as he saved what could have been a swing in the lead when he chipped in for par on the par-four sixth hole.

“That was a big momentum changer. If I hadn’t made that I might have been tied for the lead, or even behind. To come out of that hole still leading was a bonus.”

It was also a bonus having his mother Sandra with him this week to watch his maiden victory.

“I’m bursting with pride,” she said. “His dad is at home looking after his sister’s dogs. I asked my boss if I could have the week off work to come with him. It’s just phenomenal. All his family and friends have been supporting him. The golf club back home (Wakefield Golf Club) was full – nobody was playing golf today. They were all supporting Dan in the clubhouse. It’s lovely.”

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26th November 2022

Dan is still the man in Joburg Open

JOHANNESBURG –  England’s Dan Bradbury stayed on course for what could be a life-changing victory for him as he came through Saturday’s third round of the Joburg Open with a one-stroke lead at Houghton Golf Club.

Bradbury withstood a strong charge from 19-year-old South African Casey Jarvis and Finland’s Sami Välimäki and signed for a 67 to retain the lead on 17 under par.

After sharing and briefly holding the lead, Välimäki suffered a double bogey at the last and is Bradbury’s nearest challenger on 16 under par following a 66. Jarvis, who started with two birdies and an eagle, couldn’t maintain his charge and signed for a level-par 71 to drop into a share of fourth on 12 under par with Christiaan Bezuidenhout. South Africa’s Daniel van Tonder is currently third on 14 under par after his 67 on Saturday.

Bradbury was given a sponsor’s invitation into this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event. He currently has no status on any tour anywhere in the world, and his plan after this was to play the mini tours. But a win on Sunday would secure him DP World Tour membership and a place in next year’s Open.

“I’m having a lot of fun. I’m really happy with my situation at the moment. It’s nice when you’re hitting good golf shots and enjoying it, and you’ve got nice people around you. Everything’s just good at the moment,” he said at the end of a day where he had to keep his composure as those around him made early charges.

“When Casey was four under through three I thought here we go because I know he’s a great player and can go low. So can Sami. I just knew if I played my own game and just kept playing solid golf I’d be somewhere near where I needed to be a the end of the day, and it worked out like that,” he said.

“I’ve never really been here before but I’ve won college golf tournaments. I don’t feel out of place, which is the biggest thing. It’s just about keeping a positive mindset and believing you deserve to be here.”

Välimäki went straight from his double-bogey finish to the range to reset for a final round that also holds plenty of opportunity for him.

“I left too many shots out there, but I suppose it’s still a good position to be in going into the final day. It’s hard to be happy when you finish the round hitting terrible shots, but I’m still in the game. I made a lot of birdies and had pretty good chances. I just need to be better off the tee,” he said.

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25th November 2022

Bradbury leads but South Africans give chase in Joburg Open

JOHANNESBURG –  Englishman Dan Bradbury kept his grip on the Joburg Open and remained at the top of the leaderboard in the suspended second round on Friday, but with young South African Casey Jarvis and Frenchman Romain Langasque just one shot back as darkness fell at Houghton Golf Club.

Bradbury followed up his 63 with a 66 to hold the clubhouse lead on 13 under par when play was suspended because of lightning at 14:36. They resumed at 17:25 before bad light forced the round to be carried over to Saturday morning.

But not before Jarvis had made a strong charge with seven birdies over the turn to lift him to 12 under overall with four holes of his second round still to complete. Langasque had also climbed to 12 under through 11 holes.

And the South African challenge was strengthened by Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Daniel van Tonder and Jbe Kruger all making it into the clubhouse on 10 under par before the suspension.

But Bradbury has looked extremely solid at the top of the leaderboard for two days now. “I had it going there on the front nine and thought it was going to be another 63 or even a 62, but I made a few mistakes on the back nine,” Bradbury said of a round where he was seven under through 14 holes and then made back-to-back bogeys.

“Overall I’m very happy. With both those bogeys I just missed it in the wrong place. If you do that on these greens you’re going to be in trouble.”

The experienced Bezuidenhout will be a definite threat on 10 under. “I did a solid job in the second round,” Bezuidenhout said after his 64. “I knew I needed to at least get to 10 under par to give myself a chance. I’ve played some pretty nice golf over the last two days. I made a putter change after my first round and it was nice to see some putts going in. Hopefully I can get off to a fast start in the third round. On this golf course you need to keep the ball in play. If you do that you have lots of chances for birdies. That will be my plan for the weekend.”

Van Tonder was also thrilled with his putting after a 63 which didn’t equal the course record because of placing following the storm that also caused a suspension of the first round.

“The greens are nice and quick and I managed to roll a few in. I’ve been playing well the last seven or eight months and haven’t been getting the scores. It’s been frustrating, so I’m glad to finally make putts and put a low score down. I’m being as aggressive as I can be on this golf course. I like these greens and I’ve been reading them well.”

Kruger had his ball striking to thank for him being in contention on a day when his putter wasn’t as hot as those around him.

“I’m 100% pleased with my golf, but not so much with my putting. My ball striking has been very good and I hit it close all day. But it felt like I didn’t make any putts. I’ve missed a whole bunch of putts inside 10 feet over the past two days. So to miss that many and still be 10 under means I must be hitting the ball well.”

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24th November 2022

Bradbury leads Joburg Open as Lawrence makes SA golf history

JOHANNESBURG –  Englishman Dan Bradbury took full advantage of a sponsor’s invitation and led the suspended first round of the Joburg Open with an eight-under-par 63 at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday. But South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence managed to take some of the spotlight with an historic first for South African professional golf.

Bradbury, who was given the news last Friday that he had an invitation into this tournament, made it into the clubhouse with a round featuring two eagles before the second suspension of the day due to lightning. It earned him a one-stroke clubhouse lead over Germany’s Nick Bachem. The first round will resume at 6:45am on Friday, with the second round scheduled to start at 7:15am.

“It was pretty good to be fair. I can’t really complain. I had some momentum on my second nine and then the first thunderstorm stopped that. But I can’t really complain with a 63. It’s as good a start as I could’ve wished for,” said Bradbury.

Defending champion Lawrence grabbed his own share of the headlines when it was announced that he had won the DP World Tour’s Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award for his two victories – one of which was the Joburg Open last November –, six top-10s and a Major debut this past season. He is the first South African golfer to ever receive this award.

Lawrence celebrated that achievement with an opening five-under-par 66 to place him just three shots off the clubhouse lead.

“It’s a dream come true,” Lawrence said of his award. “If you look at the names on the trophy, it’s incredible. A year ago I didn’t even have a category, so when I started off with a victory, it came to mind straight away to go for this award. To have accomplished it is an incredible feeling – I’m very grateful and honoured.”

Bradbury was equally grateful to have received an invitation into this tournament, and to make his first trip to South Africa.

“I got the phonecall on Friday afternoon so this past weekend was just about getting out here and seeing what I could do. My mom (Sandra) is with me as well so it’s nice to have a bit of company. I’m loving it out here. I got nice and sunburnt yesterday – made that mistake.”

And he was also loving his first experience of golf at altitude.

“This is my first time playing at altitude. I’ve had a local caddie who’s been great helping me get used to it. The ball’s going miles here. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. Both eagles (on the par-five third and fifth holes) were great drives and I had nine irons into both. If you can hit it straight off the tee on those it’s key because they’re not the longest holes. I also rolled in a lot of nice mid-range putts.”

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Executive Mayor tees off Joburg Open

The Joburg Open teed off at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday, with the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Mpho Phalatse, hitting the ceremonial tee shot to signal the start of this DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned tournament at Houghton Golf Club.

“We’re very excited to welcome the global viewership of this tournament and to be able to showcase our beautiful City of Johannesburg,” said Phalatse.

“Golf is a much loved sport in Johannesburg. We have an array of beautiful golf courses in the City and the sport forms a vital part of our tourism. We are the economic hub of the country, and international events like this are part of our drive to grow the City and attract investment.”

The Joburg Open signals the start of the DP World Tour’s new season and also forms part of the Open Qualifying Series for The Open.

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23rd November 2022

Defending Joburg Open champ Lawrence back where the dream began

JOHANNESBURG – It was while Thriston Lawrence was warming up on a driving range in St Andrews for his first Major in The 150th Open only a few metres away from Tiger Woods that he realised just how much his life had changed since winning the Joburg Open in November last year.

“Everything I could’ve dreamed of happened this year and that motivates me to achieve even more in my career,” said Lawrence.

The South African’s victory in last November’s Joburg Open was his first on the DP World Tour, and it led to another title in the 2022 Omega European Masters, his first Major appearance this year, and finishing as the top South African on the DP World Tour Rankings in 14th place for the past season.

Driving into Houghton Golf Club this week, the tournament banner with Lawrence’s photo on it as defending champion was another reminder of just how big this week was for him.

“Driving into Houghton Golf Club and seeing the signage with my photo and the trophy, you dream about those things when you’re a young golfer. A year ago I never thought this would happen. This event is where my dreams came true. It’s obviously not all the dreams I want to achieve, but it’s the start. It motivates you because if you see that once you want to be there again. I want to defend my title as best as I can this week.”

The Joburg Open will once again provide incredible opportunity, with three places in The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool available this week. The leading three players, not already exempt as of the closing date, who make the cut at the Joburg Open will earn places in The Open from 16-23 July 2023. In the event of a qualifier becoming exempt before the closing date (Thursday, 1 June 2023), a reserve list from each Open Qualifying Series (OQS) will be created, based on the final positions. In the event of a tie for a qualifying place, the player with the higher ranking in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) at the beginning of the week commencing 21 November will be awarded a place in The Open.

Lawrence can certainly attest to the value of this kind of opportunity.

“To play my first Major at St Andrews, the Home of Golf, was incredible. Whatever I could’ve imagined it would be, it was triple that when I experienced it. I had my family with me and it was just incredible.”

While much has changed in Lawrence’s life this past year, he is determined not to change the one thing that enabled him to reach these highs, and which he hopes to carry with him into this new season.

“The most important thing for me is just to keep on doing what I did last season. A lot of golfers tend to want to change things. You obviously need to process what went wrong last season and improve on that. But I feel if you keep it simple and keep to what worked, I think it can only go well. It’s a new week and new goals, and I’ll just keep on working hard and giving it my best.”

Tickets for the Joburg Open are available at