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30th November 2023

Lagergren leads with Jarvis chasing in Investec SA Open

Swede Joakim Lagergren opened with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to lead South Africa’s Casey Jarvis by a single stroke after the first round of the Investec South African Open at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate on Thursday.

“Golf was fun today. I really enjoyed it. I feel like I got the most out of it,” said Lagergren after walking off what is officially the longest golf course in DP World Tour history.

“One of the par threes played 240 metres today – that might be one of the longest I’ve ever played. As for the rest of the course, the fairways are firm if you’re hitting good drives. But it’s rare that you’re standing with a wedge in your hands on a par four here. It’s long.”

As his nearest challenger Jarvis, who won the Freddie Tait Cup as the leading amateur in this championship in 2020, said patience played a key role in his opening round.

“I don’t hit the ball as far as some of the others out here so it is physically and mentally challenging and you need to just stay patient. I managed my game well.”

The trio of South Africa’s Jovan Rebula and Louis de Jager as well as 2015 Investec South African Open champion Andy Sullivan of England all signed for rounds of five-under-par 67.

At just one shot off the lead, Jarvis is well aware of the expectation on him to follow a stellar amateur career in which he put his name on all the major South African trophies by adding his name to the Investec South African Open trophy as a professional.

“I’d like to win this as a professional but I’m taking it one day at a time and seeing where it goes. I’m not putting pressure on myself. My expectations are always high but if I don’t put pressure on myself I play a lot better, and I feel like I’ve managed that really well this year.”

Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the winner of the Investec South African Open in December 2020, made a strong start with his round of four-under-par 68.

Altin van der Merwe and Daniel Bennett came through the first day as the leading amateurs after both signing for rounds of level-par 72, while world number one amateur Christo Lamprecht carded a 76.

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Investec SA Open tees off

Richard Wainwright, the Chief Executive Officer of Investec, hit the ceremonial drive to mark the official start of the 2023 Investec South African Open at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate on Thursday.

“We’re very excited for this year’s championship. This event aligns perfectly with our global brand, particularly across the United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa,” said Wainwright.

“This is an iconic event for South Africa. We’re also very excited to be back at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate. It’s an unbelievable venue. This is one of the longest golf courses in the world and the team here are incredibly professional.”

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29th November 2023

Blair Atholl course set to test Investec SA Open field

The Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate course will make history this week as the longest course ever played on the DP World Tour when the first round of the Investec South African Open tees off on Thursday.

The 7 528-metre par-72 course designed by Gary Player is predicted to be a tough test this week with a few changes from last year.

“We’ve had the best part of a year to prepare for this year’s Investec South African Open and the course will play a little differently to last year,” said Paul Marks, the Director of Golf at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate.

“The golfers will have to be more accurate off the tee this year. Last year the rough wasn’t penal enough so we’ve grown the rough. If a long hitter is slightly offline, the second shot will definitely be more challenging this year.

“We’ve also narrowed the fairways on some of the holes by about three to four metres on either side, so that will place an even greater premium on accuracy off the tee. This is a wide golf course, but it will definitely be more challenging off the tee this year and not just place a premium on length off the tee.

“The putting surfaces are incredible at the moment, so anybody who putts well is going to do well this week. But having said that, there will be some tight pin placements in the week.”

This is the second time that this course, built on Player’s farm, will host the Investec South African Open.

“We are very grateful to Investec, the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour for the honour of hosting the Investec South African Open once again. The fact that this championship is played on Gary Player’s farm and the fact that he won this Open a record 13 times is also a great sense of pride for us,” said Marks.

Tickets for the Investec South African Open Championship can be purchased at

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28th November 2023

Bok great Smit salutes Investec SA Open and SA golf stars

The Investec South African Open is a national treasure, and if anybody understands the value of this icon of South African sport then it’s John Smit, the former captain of another national treasure in the Springboks.

“You look at our golfers and consider how long golf in this country has kept South Africans full of hope and pride. We’re this small little country that keeps on producing champions. What sport does in this country is it distracts us a bit from the daily challenges, but it also makes us realise just how tenacious we can be on the sports field,” said Smit as he teed off with former Investec South African Open champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout in Tuesday’s pro-am at the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate.

“It’s just great to spend time with these golfers who are also our heroes. I saw the videos of many of our golfers celebrating Siya Kolisi’s team win the Rugby World Cup. Then to play with somebody like Christiaan and also see Dean Burmester win last week, it’s a privilege for us.”

Bezuidenhout was at home in America when he watched the Springboks win a record fourth Rugby World Cup in Paris. And he did so with another icon of South African sport.

“I actually watched it with Ernie Els at his house,” said Bezuidenhout as he looked forward to his round with Smit. “I’ve played a few rounds of golf with John (Smit) and he’s just a great guy to be around.”

Bezuidenhout wrote his own name into the proud history of South African golf and this championship with his Investec South African Open victory in 2020.

“This is special for any South African golfer growing up. It’s the one you really want to win and I’ve fortunate enough to have ticked it off, but I’d love to add my name to it again.”

The second oldest national Open in golf has drawn another strong field ahead of Thursday’s first round.

Thriston Lawrence is back to defend his title alongside former champions Bezuidenhout, Daniel van Tonder, Hennie Otto, Brandon Stone and Andy Sullivan, Major winner Charl Schwartzel, last week’s Joburg Open champion Dean Burmester, and a selection of GolfRSA’s top amateurs led by world number one-ranked amateur and winner of The Amateur Championship this year, Christo Lamprecht.

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Leopard Creek an inspiration as Stone finds new focus

South Africa’s Brandon Stone will head back to Leopard Creek next week with the positive memories of being a former winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, but with a very different focus to his career having regained his DP World Tour card for this current season.

The 2016 champion of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event joins another quality field for the 7-10 December championship including defending champion Ockie Strydom, double PGA Tour champion Erik van Rooyen, recent Joburg Open champion Dean Burmester, Major winners Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel, and former Alfred Dunhill Championship winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Branden Grace.

“There’s an immense sense of gratitude going back to Leopard Creek as a previous winner of the Alfred Dunhill Championship. At the same time, there is that part in all of us as professional golfers that wants your name on that trophy more than once. That’s the objective for me,” said Stone.

Stone’s victory in 2016 came amidst a prolific period in world golf for him when he won the Investec South African Open that same year. In 2018 he added a third DP World Tour title with the Genesis Scottish Open and achieved his best finish in a Major of 12th in the PGA Championship.

But what followed was a challenging period in which he lost his playing privileges on the DP World Tour. He worked his way back onto the main circuit through the European Challenge Tour this year and believes he’s a different player this time around.

“I needed to go back and find myself and my game again. I needed to remind myself of who I was as a person and a player. Looking back to the man I was a year ago, I’m almost unrecognisable. I’m back to my former self and really enjoying what I’m doing.”

But while his career may have evolved, Stone says his love for Leopard Creek has never changed.

“It’s the best place on earth – simply put. I cannot wait to get to Leopard Creek every single year. The whole atmosphere there just makes you feel a little bit more at ease. The golf course is obviously spectacular, and the setting is just as good. The energy I get from just being there in nature makes me feel a little different to any other week on tour. I’m so excited to get back.”

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26th November 2023

Inspired Burmester wins Joburg Open

Dean Burmester didn’t have much time to properly prepare for the Joburg Open, but it didn’t matter. The feeling of being back home and the passion of the fans were enough as Burmester won the Joburg Open by three strokes at Houghton Golf Club on Sunday.

With a final round of 64, Burmester claimed his third DP World Tour title on 18 under par and at the same time booked his place in next year’s Open at Royal Troon as the first of the top three finishers not already exempt for the Major.

“We recently bought a house in Florida and were busy moving so there wasn’t much time to prepare for this event,” said the now US-based Burmester. “But when I landed here I did some great preparation in the practice rounds and that set the tone for me. I felt comfortable on the golf course.”

His comfort level certainly showed in a final round where overnight leader Thriston Lawrence suddenly struggled with his game on his way to a 75 and a share of seventh place, Darren Fichardt came charging through the field with a 64 to finish second on 15 under par, and defending champion Dan Bradbury also made a run at it with a 64 of his own to finish third on 13 under par. Fichardt and Bradbury took the other two spots on offer for the 2024 Open Championship.

“It sounds pretty cool to be the Joburg Open champion,” said Burmester. “I’ve been playing this event for so long and to win it is amazing. That was my goal coming home. I hadn’t won this year and have been playing well, so to come here and win a tournament in my home country in front of my home fans with some of my family here is very special.”

Having started his career on the Sunshine Tour with his first title in the 2013 Polokwane Classic, Burmester paid special tribute to a Tour which remains close to his heart.

“The Sunshine Tour is a special place and there are a lot of friends here. It’s a great breeding ground for world golf. I’m glad to be here and be home. This is a beautiful game. Golf is growing fast. There were so many kids out here today and if this can make one kid take up golf, then it’s worth it. I was once that kid at a Sunshine Tour event in Bloemfontein standing next to a scoreboard changing scores. And now here I am today. So I want to now do my part and give back as well.”

In his own way, that was another motivation for him wanting to win this week.

“I knew what was at stake for me. My Sunshine Tour category was running out and the only way I could keep my card and keep supporting the Sunshine Tour was to win. That was my goal coming back here. I’m proud of myself, and I’m proud to be the Joburg Open champion.”

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25th November 2023

Lawrence has Joburg Open double in sight

Thriston Lawrence produced another masterclass of patience and control to earn a three-stroke lead going into Sunday’s final round of the Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club.

On a hot day at Houghton that kept even the hadedas quiet, Lawrence signed for a third round of 67 to climb to 15 under par overall as he seeks to claim a second Joburg Open title following his win in 2021.

His nearest challenger is Dean Burmester on 12 under after he signed for a 68, while Jacques Kruyswijk and Nikhil Rama are well placed on 11 under par after respective rounds of 69 and 72.

After all the intensity of a Saturday in professional golf, Lawrence spoke with the calm resolve of a man who saw his plan fall into place.

“I had a job to do and I executed nicely,” he said.

“I had a gameplan, and that was to try and play the exact same golf I did the first two days and I executed it. I stayed nice and patient. I could’ve probably gone lower than three under and there were a couple more putts I could’ve made, but it’s Saturday and the final group so it’s not always going to go your way. But it was still a job well done.”

It was indeed a well-executed gameplan on a day which began with Lawrence one shot behind leader Rama.

The 22-year-old Rama, playing possibly the biggest third round of his professional career, did extremely well to recover from a double bogey at the opening hole and keep himself in contention.

Kruyswijk was equally resilient as he bogeyed two of his first three holes and then unleashed his frustration on a run of four birdies in six holes thereafter to fight his way back into the title chase.

And Lawrence looked the most comfortable of all, especially on his chip-in to save par on the eighth.

“I’m very happy with my game at the moment. I’ve learnt the last couple of years playing on these big stages that you need to stay patient. I’ve done a good job of forgetting about the bogeys and staying in the present. That was what I wanted to achieve today and I did that.”

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24th November 2023

Rama ready to step into Joburg Open history

Nikhil Rama started playing golf because he felt left out as a young boy walking the fairways with his dad, uncles and cousins who played the game. The 22-year-old South African will now go into the weekend of the Joburg Open with a one-stroke lead. And he certainly doesn’t feel left out anymore.

In another of the many golf fairytales in Joburg Open history, Rama shot his lowest competitive round as a professional – a bogey-free 62 – on Friday to lead this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event on 13 under par.

His nearest challenger is former champion Thriston Lawrence one shot back following a 66. Dean Burmester added a 62 of his own to join Jacques Kruyswijk (64) right in the hunt just three shots off the lead.

But at the moment, this is all Rama’s story.

Raised in Johannesburg, Rama found his way to this point in his career via family golf, then playing SA Kids Golf tournaments and representing Central Gauteng and competing in GolfRSA events before turning professional in 2020.

“I wasn’t much of a junior golfer, then I started working with Hendrik Buhrmann and my golf really started to improve in 2019. I turned pro and thought let’s see what happens,” he says.

The Sunshine Tour, recognising his talent, made him a member of their Papwa Sewgolum Class for transformation players on Tour, and this season has been a breakout one for Rama as he’s had six top-10s including fourth in the recent Vodacom Origins of Golf Final which secured him a place in the Joburg Open – a tournament which has always reserved place in its field for transformation golfers. Investec, a patron of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, has also awarded Rama a sponsor’s invitation to compete in next week’s Investec South African Open.

So it’s not hard to see how this weekend represents a potentially life-changing moment for Rama. As it was for Lawrence when he broke through here in 2021 and Dan Bradbury when he did the same in 2022.

And judging by his golf on Friday – six birdies and a magnificent eagle two on the third of this par-70 course which his caddie Shannon knows extremely well – he’s absolutely ready for it.

“What can I say – I’m just really excited. I’m enjoying the pressure and the fans, and just trying to have fun. It will obviously be a little different being in the final group on Saturday. But I’ll play some Fortnite with friends tonight and we’ll see how it goes on Saturday.”

This weekend, the boy who once felt left out could become the man who finds a new home in world golf.

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23rd November 2023

Lawrence leads in Joburg Open

Thriston Lawrence made a strong bid to become only the third player to win two Joburg Open titles as he opened with a superb eight-under-par 62 to lead the first round by three strokes at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday.

Lawrence, the champion in 2021 and who is looking to join Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne as double winners of this title, produced a flawless round of golf that started with five birdies in his opening six holes. He added a further three birdies on the back nine for a round that is the lowest ever recorded at Houghton Golf Club with the course playing as a par 70 as it is this week.

“The putter was hot. It felt like I was reading the putts really nicely. The greens are firm so you could play some nice shots and plan for the undulations on these greens. I was pin high a few times, the proximity to the hole was good and the putter was on fire,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence’s nearest challenger is fellow South African Nikhil Rama who signed for a five-under-par 65, while defending champion Dan Bradbury – who was playing with Lawrence – is in a strong group of players on four under par which also includes Zander Lombard, Andy Sullivan, Jayden Schaper and Stephen Gallacher.

“I was trying to hang on with Thriston but he left me on the back nine. It was great playing with him though because he just kept hitting good golf shots. I hit a lot of very good shots and I had a few putts that I don’t know how they missed, but I’m still happy with the start,” said Bradbury.

Rama was equally delighted with his start. The young South African professional played his way into this event with a top-five finish in the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf Final, and took full advantage on Thursday.

“I’ve been playing really well and it’s good to see it pay off again. I know this golf course well. There was a bit of breeze but my game was very solid. I’m just enjoying it. It’s great being able to compete in a Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event,” he said.

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Mayor tees off 2023 Joburg Open

It was a proud moment as the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Kabelo Gwamanda, hit the ceremonial tee shot for the 2023 Joburg Open, and which also marked the start of the new season on the DP World Tour at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday.

“It was an exciting moment for me to be so closely associated with a sport that is a major tourist attraction for us,” said the Executive Mayor.

“We’ve been looking forward to this moment for months now and I’m very proud. The City of Johannesburg has a rich history and heritage. We have world-class facilities here and are delighted to welcome professionals from around the world to our city.

“I wish the professionals well and encourage our residents to come and join us for what is going to be a wonderful event.” A total of 155 professional golfers from around the world will be competing at Houghton Golf Club this week for a share of the R20.5 million in prize money.