South African Open begins European Tour

While it might not be the first event of the 2015 European Tour schedule (that happened in December), this week's South African Open Championship gets the professional golfing year worldwide underway.

Played at the Glendower Golf Club in Gauteng in the suburbs of Johannesburg for the second consecutive year, the South African Open this year includes most of South Africa's leading players the noticeable absentee being Louis Oosthuizen.

Branden Grace will likely start as the favourite following his last start seven shot win at the Alfred Dunhill Championship a month ago and although he did not play this event at this venue last year he is in some of the best form of his career.

Hennie Otto is a former winner who finished joint runner-up last year and has been in good form of late including a runner-up finish at the recent Capetown Open on the Sunshine Tour. Otto made it to the DP Dubai World Championship where he finished 21st in a considerably stronger field than that he will face this week. His chances look good.

Charl Schwartzel is the leading world ranked player in the field and although perhaps not at the peak he was a few months ago has continued to play well enough to be a factor this week. He did finish 4th in this event last year giving him further credentials for success.

Jbe Kruger tied for second in this event last year and has put together several very good finishes of late, more especially in Asian Tour events. Despite his world ranking of 186 he is not without hope.

Ernie Els is a multiple winner of this event and the most credentialed in the field. His form of late while not outstanding is still good enough for him to be a consideration.

Jason Scrivener is the only Australian in the field, the West Australian having gained his European Tour player rights at the recent Q School. Scrivener has played Australians and OneAsia Tour events in recent times and put together several solid finishes in Australian events before Xmas.

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