Home > Sport > Other Sports
Thursday February 28, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday April 17, 2013 MYT 1:18:28 AM
JOHANNESBURG: Major champions Jose Maria Olazabal, Darren Clarke and Michael Campbell are the leading drawcards at the maiden Tshwane Open golf championship near Pretoria, which starts today.
The European Tour-Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned event will be played over the par-72, 7,791-yard (7,124m) Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate designed by leading South African golfer Ernie Els.
It is the last of six 2013 European Tour season tournaments to be staged in South Africa and the race for the 237,750 (US$310,690) first prize appears open as many big names are absent.
With the Accenture World Match Play Championship just completed and the Cadillac Championship coming next week, South African and European stars like Els have opted to remain in the United States.
That offers seasoned professionals like 1994 and 1999 US Masters winner Olazabal, 2011 British Open champion Clarke and 2005 US Open title-holder Campbell a chance of victory, along with rising local and overseas stars.
Although the 1,750m altitude will see shots fly further and take some sting from one of the longest layouts on the European circuit, Olazabal was struck by the distance of some holes.
“It is a great course and very, very long,” said the 23-time champion on the European circuit, “even though we are not playing off the back tees all the time.
“The front nine is particularly long and I’m struggling with my driving. It is a course you need to drive well and, hopefully, I can find something over the four rounds.”
Spaniard Olazabal, 47, skipper of the 2012 European Ryder Cup-winning team in the United States, last triumphed when he finished five strokes clear of the 2005 Mallorca Open field.
That year was also memorable for New Zealander Campbell as he lifted the US Open and defeated Paul McGinley of Ireland 2-1 to capture the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Northern Irishman Clarke enjoyed his moment of Major glory more recently, winning the 2011 British Open, and is a regular visitor to South Africa for co-sanctioned and Sunshine Tour events.
South African Jaco van Zyl starts 14-1 favourite and another strong local contender should be recent Africa Open winner Darren Fichardt, while six-time European Tour winner Simon Dyson of England is also in the 156-strong field.
“I have been improving each week,” said Pretoria-born Van Zyl as he seeks a maiden European Tour victory, “and winning on the Sunshine Tour last week has greatly boosted my confidence.” — AFP
Tags / Keywords:
Others, Sport, Sport, Golf, Tshwane Open, preview
A sixer for Royal Klang Club
Michelle wants to earn her way into the US LPGA Tour
In-bee and Lydia showdown for world No.1 spot in LPGA Malaysia
Haze or not, LPGA Malaysia will tee off
On-song Lydia could regain top spot with LPGA Malaysia win
Analysis - Fantasy sports companies' ambitions tested by scrutiny from lawmakers, regulators
UK furniture retailer DFS eyes Rio Olympics for brand building
New York board says officer used excessive force to arrest ex-tennis star
Former champion Biaggi faces tax evasion trial - source
Spieth, Johnson paired for Presidents Cup foursomes
East Malaysia may not host any SEA Games event in 2017
Hungry? China's food delivery apps bite into Yum revival
Revving it up in Rawang
1MDB not a big issue in US, says Zahid Hamidi
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)