With the main Tours in Europe and the States taking a mid-winter break we focus on a co-sanctioned event on the South African Sunshine Tour and the second leg of the Australian Triple Crown, the PGA Championship of that country.
The Nelson Mandela Championship in South Africa became something of a farce last week. There was no play over the first two days and then several holes were reduced in par due to storm damage which meant the par was 65.
Tim Clark (pictured) had a great opportunity to win the tournament as he was joint leader with eight holes remaining. He missed six birdie opportunities and then had a double bogey on the 17th hole. Ironically he then did birdie the difficult final hole but was one shot shy of the play-off.
Scott Jamieson won that play-off and recorded his maiden European Tour win. Though the event was played over just two rounds and the par was reduced this will still go down as an official win with all the privileges associated with winning a tournament.
This part of the Sunshine Tour continues with the Alfred Dunhill Championship and the event has some star attractions at the top end of the market. Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and Branden Grace are playing in a field with little strength in depth and it is highly likely that the champion is one of those three players.
Peter Senior became the oldest winner of the Australian Open at the Lakes course in Sydney last Sunday. Senior’s second Open victory came 23 years after his first triumph in 1989. The 53-year-old Australian held his game together in severe winds.
Many of the same players are competing in the PGA Championship this week and Senior is an outsider to win the second leg of the treble. However, it might be worth focusing on players who escaped the worst of the gales in identifying potential winners.