Cape Town - Erik van Rooyen has dreamed of playing in the Nedbank Golf Challenge since he was a child, and he gets his chance on the back of a year of solid performances in his debut season on the European Tour.
"It's a tournament I've always wanted to play as a kid and came here plenty of times with the family to watch," he said. "It's a privilege to be here."
Tee times: Nedbank Golf Challenge - Round 1
The 28-year-old has five top-10 finishes, including the runner-up finish behind Shubankhar Sharma at the Joburg Open and four top-20 finishes out of 23 starts on the European Tour since the beginning of the season.
"My first year on the European Tour gave me a lot of golf learning experiences, a lot of great finishes," he said about his year which will give him plenty of confidence coming to this week at Gary Player Country Club at Sun City.
"So again, we'll just keep doing what we're doing and we're moving in a really good direction."
Van Rooyen brings local experience to the $7.5-million tournament.
"I think the course will suit me pretty well. It's a ball-striker's paradise, really. You have long holes and small greens. I think that's going to be key this week," he said.
There is an extra treat in store for Van Rooyen too, as he will get to meet Gary Player on the tee during the course of the week.
"He is a great ambassador," said Van Rooyen. "I haven't met him yet. I'm sure I'll bump into him sometime this week. He's so good for golf in general and South African golf, it's great to have him here this week."