The European Tour returns to South Africa this week with the Tshawne Open kicking off at the Pretoria Country Club in Waterkloof on Thursday March 1.
Here are some things to watch for and some facts to know about this week’s action.
The Course: Pretoria was designed by Bob Grimsdell and is a Parklands Golf Course with a par of 72. Its length is 6,459 meters. The course originally opened in 1910 and was redesigned in 2004–2005. It is consistently rated among the top 50 courses in South Africa.
Native Sons: If you want to win in South Africa, your best bet is to be South African. The Tshwane Open started in 2013 and has been won ever year but one by a native, including:
- Dawie van der Walt (2013)
- George Coetzee (2015)
- Charl Schwartzel (2016)
- Dean Burmester (2017)
Last Year: South Africa’s Burmester finished the tournament with back-to-back 65s to win by three strokes over Spain’s Jorge Campillo. The two were tied through 54 holes at 12-under. It was Burmester’s first win on the European Tour after racking up six on the Sunshine Tour between 2013-2015.
Madsen Madness: In 2015, Morten Madsen had one of the best two-hole stretches in tournament history when he aced the par-3 No. 8 and followed that with an eagle 3 on the par-5 ninth to pick up four strokes in two holes.
Water Hazard: In 2016, Haydn Porteous went to extreme lengths – and extreme fashion – to get his approach start away from the water hazard on the No. 4 hole. Right on the edge of a murky stream, Porteous took off his shoes, then rolled up his pants, then, for some reason remove his shirt to ensure he got the full range of movements before firing away . He wound up with a double bogey, but hey, you gotta love the guy’s effort.
Familiar Faces in the Field:
- A presumably dried off Porteous
- Darren Fichardt
- George Coetzee
- Dannny Willett
- Bernd Ritthamer