The 2018 Race to Dubai continues this week with the 107th BMW SA Open hosted by the City Ekurhuleni. The South African tournament may be the first of the calendar year but it’s the second oldest national Open in the world.
Contested at Glendower Golf Club, the BMW SA Open features a 155 player field, which includes a strong South African contingent led by five-time winner Ernie Els, 2016 champion Brandon Stone, two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen, 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, and European Tour winners Branden Grace, George Coetzee, Haydn Porteous, Dean Burmester, Darren Fichardt and Dylan Frittelli.
Tournament: BMW SA Open
Dates: Jan. 11-14, 2018
TV Network: GOLF Channel
Course: Glendower Golf Club
Where: Edenvale, Gauteng, S.A.
Distance: 7564 yards, Par 72
Architect: Charles Hugh Alison, Arthur Tomsett
Field/Format: 155 players; 72-hole stroke; 36-hole cut
Purse: $1,240,000 (US)
Winning Share: $196,000 (US)
Race to Dubai Points: 196,000
Defending Champion: Graeme Storm
The South African Open Championship is one of the oldest national open golf championships in the world, and is one of the marquee tournaments on South Africa’s Sunshine Tour.
It has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour since 1997.
The first S.A Open was contested in 1903, following a series of exhibition matches that had been held over the preceding ten years. The championship was initially played over 36 holes until 1908, when it was extended to become a 72-hole tournament.
Since 2011, the tournament has been held in the greater Johannesburg region, first at Serengeti Golf Club (2011-12), then Glendower Golf Club (2013-present).
The winner’s list is a who’s who of South African golf, led by legendary Gary Player, who won 13 times over a four-decade span (1956-1981). Bobby Locke won nine titles between 1935 and 1955, while Sid Brews took home eight titles between the years of 1925 and 1952.
The tournament is the Sunshine Tour’s flagship event for the purposes of the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a minimum of 32 OWGR points for the winner.
TV & ONLINE COVERAGE
Round 1: 3-7:00 AM
Round 2: 3-7:00 AM
Round 3: 3-7:00 AM
Round 4: 3-7:00 AM
Thu-Sun. All times EST. Golf Channel.
The defending champion of the BMW SA Open is Graeme Storm, who beat Rory McIlroy in a playoff just 84 days after he thought he had lost his European Tour card.
The 38 year old had entered the final day with a three-shot lead and got to 18 under with a closing 71 but McIlroy reeled him in with a 68 to set up the dramatic finale.
Storm made par three times in the playoff, with McIlroy missing the green at the third attempt and leaving himself an eight-foot putt for par that missed on the low side.
The win was Storm’s second on the European Tour and first since the Open de France ALSTOM, nearly 10 years prior.
FINAL TOP 10
1 Graeme Storm (ENG) -18
2 Rory McIlroy (NIR) -18
3 Jordan Smith (ENG) -17
4 Dean Burmester (RSA) -15
5 Thomas Aiken (RSA) -14
5 Trevor Fisher (RSA) -14
7 Alexander Bjork (SWE) -13
7 David Drysdale (SCO) -13
7 Mikko Korhonen (FIN) -13
7 Edoardo Molinari (ITA) -13
7 Joël Stalter (FRA) -13
7 Peter Uihlein (USA) -13
2017: Graeme Storm*
2016: Brandon Stone*
2015: Andy Sullivan*
2014: Morten Ørum Madsen*
2013: Henrik Stenson
*In the field
Wins: 13 – Gary Player (’56, 60, 65-69, 72, 75-77, 79, 81)
72-Hole Score: 263 (-25) Ernie Els (’10)
Credits: Getty Images, European Tour Media