5 players will fly the SA flag at Augusta

2017-04-03 14:39
Louis Oosthuizen (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The 81st Masters gets under way at Augusta National this week and there are FIVE South Africans in the field.

Trevor Immelman and Charl Schwartzel have both laid their hands on the green jacket - in 2008 and 2011 respectively.

Other South Africans in the field include four-time major winner, Ernie Els, 2010 Open Championship Louis Oosthuizen and SA's top ranked golfer, Branden Grace.

How they are all shaping up heading into the tournament:

Trevor Immelman

Age - 37

Ranking - 1 893

Best Masters - Winner (2008)

Since edging Tiger Woods by three strokes in the 2008 Masters, Immelman has struggled to find form the past few seasons. After suffering from a knee injury, Immelman has been on and off the professional scene, as he only played 11 PGA tournaments in 2016 - making eight cuts.

However, as a former winner, anything is possible and this year could be different...

Charl Schwartzel

Age - 32

Ranking - 29

Best Masters - Winner (2011)

Schwartzel triumphed at Augusta in 2011, picking up a two-stroke victory over Australia's Jason Day and Adam Scott. He became the third and the most recent South African to wear the green jacket.

After coming back from a knee injury, Schwartzel failed to defend his Valspar Championship title, but finished a commendable seventh.

SA's once highest ranked player is looking to regain form and will be desperate for a good showing in Georgia.

Branden Grace

Age - 28

Ranking - 20

Best Masters - T18 (2013)

Many see Grace as the next South African to land a major title.

Grace picked up his first PGA Tour win last year at the RBC Heritage and surged into the Top 20 of the world rankings for the first time. Although he has only two top 25 finishes in nine PGA Tour events this season, he will be backing himself for improvement at Augusta National.

Louis Oosthuizen

Age - 34

Ranking - 28

Best Masters - 2nd (2012)

When it comes to form, Oosthuizen looks South Africa's best bet when the opening round gets under way on Thursday.

Oosthuizen came close to securing an elusive green jacket in 2012 when he lost to Bubba Watson in a nail-biting playoff.

In 2016 he was SA's best-placed finisher in a tie for 15th on three-over-par 291 - eight shots behind winner Danny Willett.

Leading up to Augusta this time around, five top 25 finishes this year - including a third-place finish at the Phoenix Open - will have Oosthuizen feeling confident...

Ernie Els

Age - 47

Ranking - 410

Best Masters - 2nd (2000, 2004)

Els is preparing for what will likely be his final appearance at Augusta National as a player, according to reports. Els has been a contender on a number of occasions, most notably in 2000 and 2004 when he finished solo second.

This year, Els will be teeing off in his 23rd Masters and will want to go out with a bang.

All images: Getty Images


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