Justin Rose returns to the scene of his European Tour breakthrough this week when he defends the dunhill championship at Houghton Golf Club.
Rose's triumph in Johannesburg, the city of his birth, marked the start of an outstanding season during which he went on to win a second title on The European Tour International Schedule, the Victor Chandler British Masters, in addition to the Nashua Masters on the Sunshine Tour and the Crowns Tournament on the Japan Golf Tour.
Twelve months earlier Rose narrowly missed out to Adam Scott but made amends by firing a superb seven under par 65 in last year's final round for a 20 under par total of 268, two strokes clear of Mark Foster, the 2001 Challenge Tour Rankings winner, Retief Goosen, European Number One in both 2001 and 2002, and Martin Maritz of South Africa.
The dunhill championship, played for the eighth successive season, once again boasts an impressive field which includes 1999 Open Champion Paul Lawrie, 2000 Volvo Order of Merit winner Lee Westwood and the last two winners of the Volvo PGA Championship in Anders Hansen and Andrew Oldcorn.
Challenging the established stars will be the young brigade with Rose joined by his partner in the 2002 World Golf Championships - The World Cup, Paul Casey, in addition to Alastair Forsyth and Ian Poulter, both winners on The 2002 European Tour International Schedule.
There is also the chance for some of new faces on The European Tour to make their mark, including the 18 year old South African Charl Schwartzel, who lived up to the promise he showed at last season’s Qualifying School, when he finished in a tie for third in last week’s South African Airways Open. Also, no fewer than 13 Challenge Tour graduates, led by Number One Lee S James, are in the field.
Houghton, one of the well-established Johannesburg suburban courses, has hosted the event for the past seven seasons and is sure to once again be in immaculate condition, providing a stern test for players from both The European Tour and the Sunshine Tour.