Schwartzel amongst nine former champions back for Joburg Open glory

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  • Post published:November 22, 2023

The Joburg Open has drawn one of its strongest fields in history, with nine former winners of this event set to tee it up at Houghton Golf Club in Thursday’s first round of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament.

It’s a strong appreciation of a tournament that also marks the start of the DP World Tour’s new season, and which is also the first event on the 2024 Open Qualifying Series. The top three golfers to make the cut this week who are not yet already exempt for the 152nd Open at Royal Troon next year will secure their place in this Major.

Charl Schwartzel returns to a tournament where he owns the unique record of being the only golfer to have won back-to-back Joburg Open titles in 2010 and 2011.

“I saw some highlights of them showing my win in 2011 and I almost didn’t recognise myself. I was so skinny back then, but the swing looked really good,” said Schwartzel.

“Johannesburg has always been special to me. I’ve had good success in this area and especially at the Joburg Open, so I decided to make a comeback here and I’m excited about it.”

Defending champion Dan Bradbury returns as the most recent winner on a list of former champions also including Thriston Lawrence, Branden Grace, Joachim B Hansen, Haydn Porteous, Shubhankar Sharma, Darren Fichardt and Andy Sullivan.

For Bradbury, Lawrence, Hansen, Porteous, Sharma and Grace this tournament marked their first DP World Tour titles. Grace in particular won the 2012 Joburg Open to tee off a breakthrough year in which he won four titles internationally.

It all makes for a star-studded lineup ready to challenge for more Joburg Open glory this week.

“It’s great that so many former champions have come back to support the tournament. This is a great event on a good golf course, and this is a strong field this week,” said Bradbury.

“It’s a really nice feeling coming back. Just driving in here, everything looks the same as it did last year, so hopefully my game is also the same. It’s been a fantastic year for me and it all started here in Joburg.”

Lawrence returns as the 2021 champion, which was also his big breakthrough in a career that now includes four DP World Tour titles.

“It’s nice to see all the winners come back to support this tournament. This tournament changed my life and gave me the opportunities to get to where I am today. It’s also nice to be home and on a golf course I’m very familiar with having played these courses since my junior golf days. I’m looking forward to this week,” he said.