Johannesburg - Golf fans will witness a tough competition on the fairways when local drawcards Brandon Stone and Darren Fichardt tee off in the Origins of Golf Tour.
The event takes place at Highland Gate Golf and Trout Estate in Dullstroom, Mpumalanga, on Thursday.
This is part of a series of pro-am golf tournaments in South Africa. It began in 2004 and falls under the winter wing of the Sunshine Tour.
It will be staged in Mpumalanga for the first time this year. Other provinces that will host it are Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and North West.
Stone and Fichardt are the only top South African golfers who have registered to participate in this showdown. The majority of the contestants are golfers who have not won any notable contests on the tour so far.
Stone capped off a good season by winning two big events on the European Tour last year. He took the SA Open Championship title, beating Christiaan Bezuidenhout by two strokes at Glendower Golf Club in January. His other win was in the Alfred Dunhill Championship, where he posted a six-stroke victory over Richard Sterne at Leopard Creek Country Club in Malelane in December.
He is on the field at the British Open currently under way at Royal Birkdale in Southport, England.
Fichardt lifted the Joburg Open trophy by one stroke, beating runners-up Welshman Stuart Manley and Englishman Paul Waring by a stroke at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club in February.
This win was his fifth in European Tour events.
He lifted the Vodacom Origins of Golf trophy in 2011.
But the event will not lack spark as defending champion Zambian Madalitso Muthiya will be out to impress. He won last year’s July showdown played at Wild Coast Country Club, KwaZulu-Natal, by two strokes.
Muthiya (34) took up golf at the age of six and, when he was 15, caught the eye of former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba, who arranged for him to play junior golf in the US.
With the absence of some of the usual big names, George Coetzee and Keith Horne are the professionals who will most likely give fans a good showing.