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14 Nov 2007 16:35
The Jo’burg Open will again be hosted at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club from January 9 to 13 after a successful inaugural tournament held at the same venue last year.
A total of 204 international and local players are expected to tee up in the tournament worth an overall cash prize of €1,1-million.
The tournament is unique as it is the only one in the country to boast a double field that allows for all the players to participate on the East and West courses of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
The European Tour and Sunshine Tour are jointly sanctioning the tournament with the winner earning the right to play on the European Tour for a period of two years.
Defending champion Ariel Canete from Argentina will be back to defend his title and will in all likelihood be challenged by South Africa’s promising young black players such as James Kamte, Thabang Simon and Joe Trongo. Veterans John Mashego and Vincent Tshabalala are also likely to be vying for the title.
Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour Johan Immelman said it is too early to announce any big drawcards for the tournament, but added that there will be some well-known golfers teeing up.
The tournament is also seen as a vehicle for golf development in disadvantaged communities, and proceeds from the 2007 event were ploughed into the development of a golf driving range outside Alexandra township.
The construction of a golf education academy is also in the pipeline.
“On the strength of our experience and performance in the first, we have every intention to host the event to beyond 2010 in order to entrench the legacy of golf among the people of our city,” said Amos Masondo, executive mayor of Johannesburg.
“We will be canvassing other role players to come on board to this unique and unifying event so that it becomes a truly Jo’burg-owned initiative that promotes the culture of sport on an international stage and thus provide stability as the tournament grows from year to year,” he said.—Sapa
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