Wednesday, 11 January 2017
 Retief Goosen   (Getty Images)
Retief Goosen (Getty Images)

Home favourite Retief Goosen is hopeful that local knowledge can help him to a third national title when he tees it up at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni on Thursday.

The two-time Order of Merit winner is without a win on the European Tour in the last decade, with the 13th of his 14 victories coming at this event in the 2006 season.

He birdied three of his last four holes 12 months ago to finish in a tie for fourth at Glendower Golf Club, and believes his familiarity with the layout could stand him in good stead again.

"I love Glendower," he said. "I've played here here since I was a junior.

"I remember once playing a junior competition in the winter and the first couple of greens were frozen, you couldn’t stop the ball on the greens, it was that cold in the morning.

"But it’s a wonderful golf course, I like it. It’s particularly good this year, I think it’s much better than last year. The rough is up a lot more, it’s playing longer so the golf course is going to be a little bit tougher than last year.

"I think it all comes down to putting and driving. This year especially, the driver is going to be more important than last year with the rough being up a little more and growing daily by the inch.

"It’s going to be nice and thick in the weekend, especially when it rains so if we get rain it’s going to be really difficult to play out of the rough but the greens are good.

"I know every inch of this golf course for all the years I have played here so it’s a great track, suits my eye and a little bit of experience around this track will help."

It’s a great track, suits my eye and a little bit of experience around this track will help - Retief Goosen

All eyes are set to be on the young guns this week, with many predicting a battle between World Number Two Rory McIlroy and emerging South African star Brandon Stone, who have been paired together for the first two days.

Goosen would become the oldest winner of the event were he to lift the trophy 19 days before his 48th birthday and he is hopeful that he, along with the likes of tournament host Ernie Els, can give them a run for their money.

"Youngsters are going to be up there and that’s for sure," he said. "It would be nice if there’s a few older guys up there.

"It would be great to be the oldest champion of the SA Open. It’s a great event, old event, it’s been around for a really long time.

"I hope I will have that chance. Hopefully this time come Sunday if you are one or two ahead, or one or two behind, that would be great."

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Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1STORM, GraemeENG18-18
2MCILROY, RoryNIR18-18
3SMITH, Jordan LENG18-17
4BURMESTER, DeanRSA18-15
T5AIKEN, ThomasRSA18-14
T5FISHER JNR, TrevorRSA18-14

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