JOHANNESBURG — Several of South Africa’s top international campaigners will be hunting a maiden European Tour title on home soil when the Africa Open tees off in Buffalo City from January 5-8.
European Tour members George Coetzee, Jaco van Zyl, Jbe’ Kruger and Branden Grace will go head-to-head with defending champion Louis Oosthuizen and 2009 winner Retief Goosen, as they chase an early start in the 2012 Race to Dubai when the €1 million (approximately R10,5 million) tournament returns to East London Golf Club for the fourth consecutive time.
Although Coetzee finished the 2011 season ranked 26th in Europe after an impressive season that included seven top-10 finishes and earnings of €913 128, a maiden European Tour win has so far eluded him.
The 25-year-old Pretoria professional underlined his ascendancy with third-place finishes in the Portugal Masters, the Barclays Scottish Open, BMW International and Alfred Dunhill Championship, and came very close to breaking through for his maiden title at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, where he was pipped to the title by Denmark’s Thomas Bjorn in a play-off. Coetzee hopes he can break through in East London.