The Dimension Data Pro-Am ends the European Challenge Tour’s maiden voyage to South Africa this week at the picturesque Fancourt Golf Estate. Here are five things to know ahead of the third event on the Road to Mallorca.
Fancourt Golf Estate, the venue for the Dimension Data Pro-Am, is Southern Africa’s premier golf and leisure resort, which is set at the foot of the majestic Outeniqua Mountains. The tournament will be played over Fancourt’s three courses – Montagu, Outeniqua and The Links – all three of which were designed by the legendary Gary Player. The Links is currently ranked as the country’s number one course by Golf Digest South Africa and was described by Player as his greatest ever feat as a course designer.
Some of the biggest names in sport are playing as amateur partners to the professionals this week, including some of the greatest cricketers of all time. Shane Warne, the second most prolific wicket taker in test match history, and Jacques Kallis, widely regarded as the greatest all-rounder to ever play the game, will both tee it up. They will be joined by fellow cricketers AB de Villiers and Allan Lamb, South African rugby union legend Francois Pienaar, and Scottish footballing heavyweights Kenny Dalglish and Alan Hansen.
The Big Easy
True golfing royalty will tee it up this week, with former World Number One and four-time Major Champion Ernie Els set to play at Fancourt Golf Estate. The 50-year-old South African received an invite from The Sunshine Tour, as the two-time Open Champion works closely with the venue to run the Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation. The foundation aims to identify talented young South Africans predominantly from families of limited resources and provide them with educational and life-skill assistance and playing opportunities in order to produce successful, well-rounded young adults with the main objective of providing such persons with sustainable access to the economy.
South African stars
Els is not the only big-name golfer in the field this week, with some of South Africa’s most well-known names set to compete. Christiaan Bezuidenhout is the highest ranked player in the field, currently residing 60th in the Official World Golf Ranking, and he’ll be joined by countrymen Dean Burmester, George Coetzee, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Haydn Porteous, Richard Sterne, Brandon Stone and Justin Walters, among others.
Huge prize on offer
Players this week will play for a share of the USD $400,000 prize fund, but that is not all. This week’s winner will also earn a spot in the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, which takes place at TPC Southwind in Memphis, Tennessee, in July. The world’s best players have triumphed at the penultimate World Golf Championships event of the year, including World Number One Rory McIlroy, Number Two Brooks Koepka – the defending champion – and Tiger Woods, who has won the tournament a record eight times.