Golf | 23 Nov 2017 | By Michael Vlismas
SA’s European Tour young guns impress
A new generation of South Africans made their presence felt on the European Tour this year and will look to take this even further as they now turn their attention to the upcoming AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and the Joburg Open.
Dylan Frittelli, Dean Burmester and Haydn Porteous were all European Tour winners this year, and then closed out the season with impressive performances in the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
Each made their debut in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai finale, with Frittelli and Burmester sharing fourth place behind the winner Jon Rahm, and Porteous finishing in a tie for 21st place alongside Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood.
The AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open and the Joburg Open are both tri-sanctioned tournaments between the Sunshine Tour, European Tour and Asian Tour. They form part of the European Tour’s 2018 season, so they offer all three players a good opportunity to start their new season on a strong note.
Frittelli has had a tremendous season that reached a high when he won his maiden European Tour title in the Lyoness Open powered by Organic+ but then also included a share of second in the Rolex Series’ Turkish Airlines Open and the Volvo China Open earlier this year. This carried him to an overall finish of 19th on the Race to Dubai rankings.
Burmester followed up his maiden European Tour title in March’s Tshwane Open with top 10s in the BMW PGA Championship and the Portugal Masters before last week’s strong finish. He ended the season in 41st place on the Race to Dubai rankings.
And Porteous finished 55th on the Race to Dubai following his second European Tour victory in the D&D Real Czech Masters and then a share of 12th in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player.
All three will play in the €1 million AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at The Heritage Golf Club from 30 November to 3 December, and then the R15 million Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club from 7-10 December.
Another South African, George Coetzee, has also had a strong second half of the season on the European Tour, with three top 10s in his last eight tournaments on his way to finishing 53rd on the Race to Dubai rankings.
He’ll also be playing in both the upcoming tournaments, and as the winner of the inaugural AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in 2015 when it was also played at The Heritage Golf Club.
The young South Africans will be up against a strong European and Asian Tour presence in Mauritius, which includes 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who is also co-designing the second championship golf course at Heritage Resorts; 2011 Open champion and former European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke; former European Ryder Cup team member Jamie Donaldson of Wales; 2012 European Ryder Cup team member Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium; French professionals Raphael Jacquelin and Romain Langasque; and Asian Tour stars Shiv Sankar Prasad (SSP) Chawrasia of India and Scott Hend of Australia.