It’s to be expected when a tournament has enjoyed as long a history as this week’s Sunshine Tour event at Country Club Johannesburg.
A field of 156 will tee it up in the opening round today with each participant looking to add their name to a trophy that includes Gary Player, Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen.
There can be little argument with the fact that George Coetzee is being considered as one of the favourites for the week given that he comes into the event as the highest ranked player in the field currently occupying 56th spot in the World Golf Rankings.
Coetzee, who narrowly missed out on a spot in next week’s US Masters, will need to put the disappointment out of his mind ahead of today’s first round and rather focus on the task at hand. He comes into this event having finished fifth at last month’s Investec Cup.
The winner of that event, Trevor Fisher Jnr, is also in action and should be considered as a contender given that he has the confidence that comes with winning as well as the fact that his game has shaped up nicely of late.
The fact that the Tour’s most recent winner has the ability to move a golf ball some distance means that he will have an advantage on opening day given that the wet weather around Johannesburg has made the course play longer than usual.
Another lively contender is Jacques Blaauw and after settling for the first runner-up spot behind Fisher at the Investec Cup is hoping to go one better in another of the Tour’s marquee events.
“I was happy about the finish at the Investec Cup. Eagling the last hole in the final two rounds was nice, and having a strong finish gave me a lot of confidence,” said Blaauw.