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Golf | SA

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Buffalo City primed for sixth Africa Open

The sixth edition of the prestigious Africa Open will draw a field of world-class professionals to the East London Golf Club in Buffalo City from 14 to 17 February 2012.

While showcasing the city of East London and bringing international golf to the Eastern Cape, the Africa Open’s position early in the season makes it a sought-after event as local professionals seek the opportunity to earn membership of the European Tour.

The Africa Open also offers a tremendous incentive to local and European Tour players to make an early impact on the 2013 Race to Dubai and Sunshine Tour Order of Merit rankings.

And the winner will not only receive the lion’s share of the of €1-million (approximately R11.7-million) purse, but gain exemption on both the Sunshine and European Tours.

Past champions and South Africa’s Major winners Louis Oosthuizen (2011 and 2012), Charl Schwartzel (2010) and Retief Goosen (2009) all claimed that lifting the Africa Open trophy at the start of the season gave their careers the impetus to reach new heights.

For the last five years, the Sunshine Tour and European Tour co-sanctioned event has drawn a strong line-up of golf’s leading players, upcoming stars and hopeful rookies in their hunt for international glory in the Eastern Cape.

After the inaugural tournament at the Fish River Sun Country Club in 2008, the Africa Open moved to Buffalo City a year later when Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality became one of the principal sponsors.

In 2010, the tournament joined the European Tour schedule and fast grew into the pride of the Eastern Cape.

The decision from the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency to support the Africa Open for a further five years drew high praise from Goosen, Schwartel and world No 4 Oosthuizen.

“The dedication from Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and the Eastern Cape Parks and Tourism Agency since they joined as sponsors in 2009 has been commendable,” Oosthuizen said.

Schwartzel added: “Their support has gone a long way in ensuring the successful growth of the Africa Open and the Sunshine Tour and they have created a long and lasting legacy for the Eastern Cape.”

Goosen agreed. “It’s wonderful news for all of us that have grown to love this tournament. We always receive a warm welcome when we return to Buffalo City and we hope to continue to delight the golfing fans who give us such incredible support.”

Tickets to this year’s Africa Open are available at the gate. Entry is free for children under 18 on Thursday and Friday and R5 for Saturday and Sunday. Adults also enter for free on Thursday and Friday and tickets cost R25 per day on the weekend.


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