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12th October 2022

SA stars back and chasing glory in Investec South African Open Championship

South African golf’s biggest stars will be back on local fairways this December as they unite in their quest for Investec South African Open glory and the chance to claim what they’ve called “our fifth Major”.

Charl Schwartzel, Dean Burmester, Dylan Frittelli, MJ Daffue, Brandon Stone, Erik van Rooyen, Thriston Lawrence, Oliver Bekker, Shaun Norris and defending champion Daniel van Tonder have all confirmed their participation in the second oldest national Open in golf at the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate from 1-4 December.

“I can’t wait to get there and compete in such an iconic event and try I put my name on that trophy alongside the greats like Ernie Els and Gary Player and so many others. For us as South Africans it’s our fifth Major and we all want to win it so badly. For me personally, I’ve won the South African PGA Championship, so to get my name on the Investec South African Open trophy as well and have done the double would be very special,” said PGA Tour campaigner Dean Burmester.

Fellow PGA Tour star Dylan Frittelli said he’s returning to challenge for a title he feels is essential to his career.

“The Investec South African Open is the biggest tournament in the world for me right now besides a Major. It means so much to me. It was the first professional tournament I ever played. I qualified when I was 16 years old. I definitely want to win my national Open before my playing career is over. I think my career will be incomplete if I don’t do that.”

DP World Tour campaigner Oliver Bekker said he is back to try and go one better than his runner-up finish to Daniel van Tonder in last year’s Investec South African Open.

“It’s our home Open and I would really like to have my name on that trophy with the likes of Ernie Els and Gary Player and all of the South African golf legends. After coming so close last year I’m really looking forward to playing well on home soil and hopefully to have a chance of lifting that trophy.”

Shaun Norris said he’s particularly excited about competing on home fairways again.

“It’s always great to play back home, and so much more in your national Open. It’s every golfer’s dream to win his national Open. It will mean the world to me to add my name to that trophy with all of the great players who’ve done it before.”

Thriston Lawrence is also returning home to compete in a championship he’s been watching since he was a young golfer.

“I can’t wait for this year’s Investec South African Open. What an historic event. It’s a tournament I’ll always support because I grew up watching it on TV and have always wanted to win it, especially with all the names on that trophy and the history behind it. I’d obviously love to win it and will give it my all.”

The Sunshine Tour this week launched its ticketing package for this prestigious Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament aimed at maximising value and the overall experience.

Ticket prices range from R150 for the Thursday or Friday to R300 for the Saturday or Sunday, with a 50% discount if purchased before the end of October. Tickets can be purchased at www.sunshinetour.com.

The world-class action inside the ropes will be matched by a festival of golf for the whole family at this year’s tournament.

The festivities will include a big screen in the tournament village for sports fans to be able to keep up with the latest FIFA World Cup action. There will also be a Golf Expo Centre featuring the very latest in golf equipment. Fans will be able to have their photo taken with the iconic Investec South African Open trophy, and the youngest golf fans will have their own dedicated kid’s area to keep them entertained. The tournament village will include a food and drinks market as well as a Stella Artois beer garden. And a Saturday afternoon music concert will provide the perfect way to relax after the third-round action and prepare for an epic final round.

It will also be more than just the professionals who will have the chance to win big at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate.

From the Thursday to the Saturday of the world’s second oldest national Open, three lucky fans will be selected to prove they have the nerves of steel of the professionals and will win the chance to putt for R10 000 on the 18th green after play. On the Sunday of the final round, three fans will have the chance to also putt for glory, but for R100 000.

It’s the biggest week in South African golf, and it’s live on the Sunshine Tour.

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Stone relaxed in share of Mauritius lead

5th December 2019

Stone relaxed in share of Mauritius lead

Brandon Stone put a tough year behind him as he fired a six-under-par 66 on Thursday to be in a five-way share of the first-round lead of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Golf Club.

His seven birdies and a bogey saw him share the lead with teenager Rasmus Hojgaard from Denmark, the French duo of Benjamin Hebert and Romain Langasque, and Scotland’s Grant Forrest in a tournament sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour, the European Tour and the Asian Tour.

“2019 was a tough year,” said Stone. “I don’t think I was the only one that really struggled. I think on the European Tour, you’ve got 110 guys that keep their cards and I think 109 of them are always going to be disappointed. I had a few results towards the end of the year that really got some confidence back in the game.”

Stone turned in four-under-par 32 on his way to what looked as if it might be a very low score, but a bogey on the 10th slowed his progress until the 14th and 15th where he made two successive birdies. Then, after being in trouble off the tee on the par-five 18th – he nearly hit his wife who was standing well out of danger on the left of the fairway – he recovered well for a final birdie to grab his share of the lead.

Hojgaard was flawless through his opening round and took advantage of an early start which saw the wind less of an influence than later in the day. “Conditions are very good,” he said. “It’s a course where if you are playing well you can see a lot of chances. I managed to take them today.”

The morning field certainly got the better of conditions, and Hebert was one of those who took advantage. “The greens were very firm during the practice round and they were much softer this morning, so it was easier,” he said. “During the practice round it was very hard to reach pin high because the bounce was huge on the green. It was a little bit windy on the last nine, a little bit tougher, but I did well so I am very happy.”

For Stone, finishing his competitive year in Mauritius is something he’s relishing. “I think we’ve had the best end of the year with these two events (Alfred Dunhill Championship and AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open),” he said. “I sat for a couple of hours poolside yesterday, weighing up the options of what we are going to do for dinner. There were more than enough ideas, and then I went to bed nice and early. Woke up to a beautiful island summer’s morning, took a walk on the beach with the wife and after that, I had to come and do a little bit of work and come and shoot a 66.”

He’s got work to do if he wants to break free of his pursuers, though. In addition to the four with whom he shares the lead, there are none players just one shot back, including South Africans Keith Horne, Zander Lombard, Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Jaco Ahlers.