BELA BELA, Limpopo – After two weeks of DP World Tour events on the Sunshine Tour it’s back to Challenge Tour action in Limpopo for the next two weeks, and starting with the inaugural SDC Open hosted by Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
The $250 000 tournament, which tees off on Thursday, will be played at both Zebula Golf Estate and Elements Private Golf Reserve. The first two rounds will be shared by both golf courses, with the final two rounds to be played solely at Zebula Golf Estate and Spa.
It’s yet another opportunity for the South Africans to entrench their already strong presence within the top 20 on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca rankings. The top 20 on the rankings at the end of this season will earn promotion to the main DP World Tour.
There is still a long season ahead, but the fact that it has started in South Africa with seven tournaments co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour has given local golfers a great head start.
South African golfers currently occupy 11 of the top 20 places on the rankings, reinforcing the value of these co-sanctioned tournaments and the opportunities they offer the local golfers who perform well on home fairways.
JC Ritchie still leads the rankings following his two victories in the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open and the Jonsson Workwear Open. He is joined in the top 20 by fellow South Africans Tristen Strydom (sixth on the rankings), Luke Jerling (7th), Keenan Davidse (8th), Bryce Easton (12th), Deon Germishuys (13th), Jaco Prinsloo (14th), Zander Lombard (15th), Jaco Ahlers (16th), Wilco Nienaber (17th) and MJ Viljoen (20th).
“I think it gives all the South African players an advantage to get the season started off well at home. We have a lot of brilliant players down here that don’t always have the financial support to get onto the main tours. So to have these events here is so special for us as players,” said Ritchie.
Ritchie will not only be chasing a personal goal as the current leader on the rankings, but also a historical one for South African golf.
He is looking to become the first South African golfer to win the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca rankings since it officially started in 1991.
And this week he returns to a Limpopo province where he’s won twice before in his career.
Photo Credit: Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour