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Four Aussies prepare for glory in Joburg

THE second event of 2016 on the European Tour tees-off this week in Johannesburg, the Joburg Open.

THE European Tour continues it's South African swing this week when the Joburg Open tees off at the two courses of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

The fourth of five co-sanctioned events played in the Rainbow Nation, the tournament presents a big opportunity for some of the game's lesser lights to shine as most of the European Tour's big names are in Malaysia playing the Eurasia Cup.

The potential rewards are big for this week's winner with not only a European Tour card on offer but a place in the 2016 Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Four Australians are among thre 156 strong field to play the two courses at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club though history favours a South African winner.

Six of the last eight champions have hailed from the home nation with 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel and fellow South African Richard Sterne each winning twice.

Having missed his home Open through illness last week, Schwartzel will be keen to kick off his 2016 campiagn with a good result though a strong field is assembled.

Last week's winner and rising star Bradnon Stone is among the favourites as is defending champion George Coetzee.

Last week’s winner, Brandon Stone, is feeling confident, comfortable and eager to record another victory on home soil.

It’s always been a course I’ve been very fond of, Royal Johannesburg and Kensington,” Stone said in the lead up.

It’s a golf course that really suits my game, very similar to Glendower.

I feel comfortable here.”

Coetzee, who claimed a three-shot victory last year, echoed his countryman's sentiments about the layout.

It’s always one of the more fun golf courses to come back to,” he said.

When you win a tournament, you can finally say ‘I’ve got my game plan down for this golf course’.”

The tournament is played over the club's two courses, both the East and West layouts presenting their own unique challenges.

The East is regarded as the more difficult of the two given its length (6345m) and it will host the final two rounds after the players alternate between the two during the opening rounds.

After storms interrupted three of the four rounds at last week's SA Open weather is again forecast to play a part with heavy rain and the chance of more storms in the outlook.

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