THE EUROPEAN TOUR heads to South Africa this week for a three week swing.
The first event is the 2013 Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
Heading the event is Charl Schwartzel, back from a six week break after being in super form at the end of last season.
The US Masters winner leads a barrage of local talent that will make it hard for the international competitors taking part to wrest the title from South African hands.
Schwartzel won this event in 2010 and 2011 and won his final event last year, the Alfred Dunhill Championship, by a massive 12 shots. He had another dominating win – by 11 strokes – the previous week at the Thailand Open.
“I’ve watched the guys playing and I miss being in contention, so I’m looking forward to getting back and competing again,” Schwartzel said this week.
“My body feels a little fresher after the break. I was quite fatigued at the end of last year. If I can just play consistent golf – whatever the result may be – I just want to start off in a nice consistent way. I want to start off on a good base and build from there.”
Defending champion is South African Branden Grace, with other top local competitors including Richard Sterne, Garth Mulroy and George Coetzee.
Aussie interests are represented by Andrew Dodt, Daniel Gaunt, Scott Arnold and Matthew Zions.
Fox Sports television coverage of the Joburg Open begins Thursday 9pm – 1.30am.
2013 Joburg Open Leaderboard2013 Joburg Open Leaderboard