The 10th edition of the prestigious Joburg Open is under way at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in Linksfield.
Among the total of 210 local and international players taking part in the tournament – hosted by the City of Johannesburg – is Brandon Stone, winner of last week’s South African Open.
For Stone, this year’s Joburg Open is significant for one thing – it has given him the opportunity to play alongside his idol, lord of the fairways Ernie Els, for the first time in his blossoming career.
“I get to play with the man I’ve grown up watching. I just saw the draw and it’s the first time I’m ever going to play with Ernie in a tournament. It’s going to be really special. Really, really special,” said Stone on the eve of the tournament.
“To watch [him] make his way around the golf course ... is going to be quite unique and quite fun,” Stone said.
Also chasing the money and fame will be Joburg Junior Open champion Marco Steyn, Nomads SA Under-19 Boys Stroke Play champion Dylan Naidoo, Karabo Mokoena and James du Preez.
The four are Golf RSA National Squad amateurs who hope to pit their skills against those of the world’s leading golfers. “I’ve barely slept since I got the invitation,” said Mokoena of the Ernie Els and Fancourt Foundation.
“This is so exciting. It’s unreal to think I’ll be playing in the same tournament as Ernie Els, George Coetzee, Richard Sterne, Trevor Immelman, David Howell and Jaco van Zyl. I’m really looking forward to this experience. It’s an unbelievable learning opportunity,” he said.
The winner of this premier event, which will be watched by more than 400 million television viewers in 35 countries, will pocket over €200 000 (approximately R3.7-million).
The tournament – which provides the City of Johannesburg with great opportunities to market the city, its rich culture and world-class facilities – ends on Sunday January 17.
Issued by the City of Johannesburg