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On the tee: Alfred Dunhill Championship

On the tee: Alfred Dunhill Championship

Local hero Charl Schwartzel will begin his challenge for a fifth Alfred Dunhill Championship title in the company of fellow South African Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Spain's Pablo Larrazábal when the 2020 European Tour season gets under way this week.

Charl Schwartzel

Schwartzel, who won this event in 2004, 2012, 2013 and 2015, makes his return to action this week following a long-term wrist injury which had ruled him out since April.

The 2011 Masters Tournament winner will start his opening round at 07:10 from the tenth tee on Thursday alongside last season's Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation winner Bezuidenhout and four-time European Tour champion Larrazábal.

The group starting at the tenth tee at 07:20 also contains a home favourite in the form of Branden Grace, who will have Englishmen Eddie Pepperell and Oliver Wilson for company.

David Drysdale finished second at this event behind David Lipsky - who is not back at Leopard Creek Country Club to defend his title this week - last year, and the Scot will be looking to go one better when he starts from the tenth tee at 07:00 with victorious Ryder Cup Captain Thomas Bjørn and Garth Mulroy.

A host of players will begin their European Tour journeys in South Africa, with 21 of the 28 men who came through European Tour Qualifying School present.

One such player is Dane Benjamin Poke, who will tee it up at 12.10 alongside one of 14 graduates from last season’s Road to Mallorca Rankings here this week, Antoine Rozner, and home hope Kyle Barker.

Former World Number One Ernie Els starts from the first tee at 12:20 alongside countrymen George Coetzee and Richard Sterne.