Eight South Africans have qualified for the 2015 Open Championship! They are Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Thomas Aiken, Branden Grace, George Coetzee, Retief Goosen and Jaco Van Zyl. As I write this the 2nd round has yet again been suspended early this morning, due to high winds. But at this point Branden Grace – after a great first day – sits in 25th position on -3, Retief Goosen and Charl Swartzel are tied 9th on 6 and Louis Oosthuizen is tied 4th on -7.
‘King Louis’ as he is affectionately known, hails from Mosselbay, on the Garden Route, best known for the Pinnacle Point golf course. He was runner-up in the 2012 Masters Tournament and the 2015 U.S. Open. But he is here to defend his 2010 Open Championship. Will he be able to hold the Claret Jug again this year?
Charl Schwartzel is currently playing on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and the Sunshine Tour. He has won one major title which was the Masters in 2011. He was born in Johannesburg, and when he is not playing on the tours, he resides in Pretoria, in the commercial heart of our country. Most of our visitors land in neighboring Johannesburg, only to catch their next flight to the coast, or to get into their rental vehicle and move away from the Big City to visit the Big Five. But actually Gauteng has some nice golfing experiences on offer as well….
Retief Goosen who was in the top ten in the Official World Golf Ranking for over 250 weeks between 2001 and 2007. Must admit, I did not know this either, but came across this ‘fun fact’ about ‘the Goose’ when surfing the next. He was born in the Limpopo province, and although that is known by most visitors because of the Kruger National Park, again there are some fabulous golf courses in this part of the country! The Legend Golf & Safari Resort – with its famous ‘Extreme 19th’ – is probably the most well-known, alongside the Leopard Creek Golf Course, which for years has been the No. 1 golf course in South Africa.
Last but not least I want to mention Branden Grace. He was born in Pretoria, but spent a lot of time on the Garden Route, where his parents still reside. He was selected and later on graduated at the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation, which recognizes and helps nurture the careers of young golfers. He is still being sponsored by Fancourt, which is home to The Links at Fancourt, the current No.1 golf course in South Africa. Branden plays on both the European Tour and Sunshine Tour and in 2012 he became the first player in the history of the European Tour to win his first four European Tour events in the same year.
We wish all ‘our’ gents the best of luck! And fly that South African flag high!