European Tour heads back to South Africa
BY Bruce Young | European PGA Tour | 2013 The Joburg Open | Preview | 05 Feb 2013
Having completed its Middle Eastern swing the European Tour heads back to South Africa for the Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club
The event is the first of three in this visit to the Republic, this week’s tournament followed next week by the Africa Open in East London and two weeks later by a new event the Tshwane Open in Centurion. They bring to a conclusion six events in the first few months of season 2013 which have been played in South Africa.
In terms of world ranking the field is headed by the Charl Schwartzel whose most recent form suggests he will also start as a commanding favourite. Schwartzel has not been outside the top five in any of his last five starts including a victory at the last two events in which he has played.
Interestingly this will be Schwartzel’s first start of 2013 but as a two time winner at the venue many roads point to Schwartzel continuing his amazing run of form.
Branden Grace began his great run in European golf by winning this event last year and has since gone on to win on three further occasions. Like Schwartzel, Grace’s most recent starts, which include top tens in each of his last three starts, give every indication he could successfully defend.
Richard Sterne is slowly working his way back to his best form after some time away from the game. He finished runner-up last week in Dubai against a significantly stronger field than that he faces this week. His chances of a first victory in more than three years look good.
George Coetzee is also in the middle of a rich vein of form. A poor final round in this event last year cost him a chance of victory having started the final day in second position.
Australians in the field include Andrew Dodt, Daniel Gaunt, Scott Arnold and Matthew Zions.