Graeme Storm defends BMW SA Open

The European Tour gets underway again this week with the BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni. England’s Graeme Storm defends the title at Glendower Golf Club.Graeme Storm defends BMW SA OpenGlendower GC in the City of Ekurhuleni, South Africa plays host to the first European Tour event of the calendar year this week. Graeme Storm defends the BMW SA Open and a strong field has assembled.
The BMW SA Open hosted by Ekurhuleni is one of the oldest events to feature on the European Tour. The first South African Open was contested as an exhibition tournament in 1893 and 2010 saw the 100th staging of the great competition. This year will be the 107th edition.

The great South African golfers of the last 85 years have been to the fore in this tournament. Bobby Locke won nine times between 1935 and 1955 before Gary Player took over, winning 13 times from 1956 to 1981. Other South African Major winners – Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman have all lifted the trophy.
Last season, Graeme Storm came out on top after coming through a thrilling playoff against Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy. Storm prevailed at the third extra hole.
Rory McIlroy practice tips:
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As you would expect, the home nation will be well represented. 2016 winner Brandon Stone is on the start sheet, as are Ernie Els, Charl Schwartzel, Dylan Frittelli, George Coetzee and Branden Grace.

From outside the home nation, defending champ Graeme Storm tees it up, as does 2015 winner Andy Sullivan, Chris Wood, Jordan Smith and Soomin Lee are among other star names on the start list.
The weather forecast looks set fair with warm, sunny and pleasant conditions set to dominate.
Venue: Glendower GC, Gauteng, South Africa
Date: Jan 11-14
Course stats: par 72, 7,594 yards
Purse: €1,050,000
Defending champion: Graeme Storm (-18)
TV Coverage:
Thursday 11 – Sky Sports Golf from 8am
Friday 12 – Sky Sports Golf from 8am
Saturday 13 – Sky Sports Golf from 10am
Sunday 14 – Sky Sports Golf from 10am
Player Watch:

Jordan Smith – The Englishman enjoyed a great debut season on the European Tour in 2017 and it was kick-started by a fine third place finish in this tournament a year ago. Smith went on to earn over €1 million in prize money through the season and to claim his maiden victory in the Porsche European Open.
Dean Burmester – He finished 2017 strongly with a tie for fourth in the DP World Tour Championship and then solid showings in both Mauritius and then Joburg. He was fourth in this event last year.
Charl Schwartzel – The 2011 Masters champion has been a prolific winner in his home county but has never lifted this title. It’s one he’d love to be able to add to his CV. He’s an extremely consistent performer and will likely be in the mix come Sunday afternoon.
Key hole: 15th. This reachable par-5 of 547 yards will provide a good birdie or eagle chance, but it’s not without danger. Bunkers at driving distance on the right side of the fairway cause players to veer left, but a stream waits just off the fairway on that flank. The key then to this hole is getting a good drive away – it’s one that could see some big swings in fortune on Sunday afternoon.
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