Els to fight off pretenders

2009-12-09 18:05
Ernie Els (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Ernie Els is the big name at the Alfred Dunhill Championship which gets under way at the 6 631m Leopard Creek Golf Course on Thursday, but his reputation will only be an incentive for the Sunshine Tour’s young guns to bring him down.

With the likes of Charl Schwartzel and Thomas Aiken having come close to wins this year (although Schwartzel already has two European Tour wins to his name), and with three three-time winners on the 2009 Sunshine Tour in the field, Els can hardly be expecting a walk in the park.

Jaco van Zyl, Darren Fichardt and Brandon Pieters have each won three times, and all are capable of a week’s worth of play that could win any tournament.

In addition, Dane Anders Hansen has a commanding lead at the top of the Order of Merit over Van Zyl as he returns to South Africa for this event and the South African Open to fulfil his five-tournament quota to maintain his eligibility for the race.

Hansen has maintained his position in the world’s top 50 through much of the year, and he won the Omega European Masters in September against the likes of Rory McIlroy and Schwartzel.

David Drysdale is the other European player in the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit top 10, and the Scot had a second place in the Open de Andalucia de Golf 09 in Spain in March as well as third in the Joburg Open in January and in the Madrid Masters in October.

The players missing from the top 10 of the Order of Merit are Retief Goosen and Canadian Graham DeLaet.

Goosen is not playing in the December Sunshine Tour events, and DeLaet has just earned his US PGA Tour card at the Q-School.

The tournament also sees the return to South Africa of Tyrone van Aswegen after his unsuccessful attempt to qualify for the US PGA Tour. He did, however, have a couple of good finishes on the Nationwide Tour, the better of the two being his share of third at the Soboda Classic in October. He’s currently seventh on the Order of Merit.

The 10th-placed player on the Order of Merit is Titch Moore, who has not won this year, but has been close, agonisingly so at the Platiunum Classic when he double bogeyed the 16th and let Fichardt in for his third win of the year.

Moore has 10 top 10 finishes this year, and, with two second places (in the Zambia Open and the Platinum Classic), he will be keen to add an eighth title to his resume.

And, of course, defending champion Richard Sterne could just find his A game again and blow the field away.


Els player/host of SA Open

2014-12-17 11:25


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!


I love summer.24

Summer Survey!
Great ideas for the best summer sandwiches!
Christmas lingerie to make this festive season the best one ever!
13 things you might not know about Disneyland
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs

Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.