European Tour

Grace faces stiff competition

2013-01-09 09:00
Branden Grace (Gallo)

Johannesburg - Rising South African star and winner of five European Tour events Branden Grace faces stiff competition when he defends the Volvo Golf Champions title as the 2013 European Tour tees off on Thursday.

There are seven Major winners in the elite 36-strong field, including South Africans Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Louis Oosthuizen, Irishmen Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington, Scot Paul Lawrie and Spaniard Jose Maria Olazabal.

Italians Matteo Manassero and Francesco Molinari, Swedes Peter Hanson and Henrik Stenson and Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts add to the international flavour for the tournament at Durban Country Club.

The sponsors have also added spice to the championship, won by Grace after a playoff against Els and Goosen at Fancourt last year, by offering a truck and an excavator as well as the traditional car for holes in one.

Another competitor is Paul Casey of England, who preceded Grace as winner of a tournament open only to winners during the previous European Tour season or winners of more than 10 career titles on the circuit.

Seemingly ageless Miguel Angel Jimenez from Spain was also scheduled to take part, but a close-season broken leg after a skiing accident in his homeland put paid to the plans of the pony-tailed crowd favourite.

Late entrant Harrington says he cannot imagine a better venue to start the year than a course rated among the top 100 in the world by Golf Magazine and host of 17 South African Open tournaments.

"I am looking forward to getting out on the course and competing. This is an ideal tournament to start my year off where there is a limited field to test myself against," said the three-Major champion.

"There will be no cut and beautiful weather is almost guaranteed - it is a great event and I am really looking forward to competing in South Africa," added Harrington.

Another golfer relishing the chance to tee off is twice US Open champion Goosen, who is well down the road to recovery after a back operation last August.

"Everything is going really well with my rehabilitation and I am back out on the course and enjoying playing golf with my family and friends," said the South African popularly known as 'Goose'.

Stenson returns to a country where he enjoyed pre-Christmas success, winning the South African Open near Johannesburg by three strokes from local George Coetzee.

Read more on:    volvo golf champions  |  branden grace  |  golf

What To Read Next


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
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite event on the golfing calendar?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

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


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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