Johannesburg - A grand total of 13 South African players, led by Garrick Higgo, will be in action at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, in the United Arab Emirates, starting on Thursday.
At 60th in the world rankings, Higgo is the top-ranked SA player in the field as he makes his second start of 2022. The 22-year-old played in the US PGA Tour’s Tournament of Champions in Hawaii, two weeks ago when he ended in a tidy tie for 25th.
With three wins in 2021, two of which came on the DP World Tour (formerly European Tour), he will be looking for a top showing again.
Just behind Higgo in the world rankings at 63rd, and the SA number four, Erik van Rooyen will also be aiming for a top performance.
Like Higgo, played in the Tournament of Championship and finished alongside his countryman in 25th place. Van Rooyen stayed in Hawaii for last week’s Sony Open, and improved to a tie for 20th. The quick turnaround, however, may not be ideal for Van Rooyen and he will need a good start to his tournament.
Van Rooyen, 31, won his maiden US PGA Tour title last year at the Barracuda Championship in August. He will also be looking to add to his sole DP World Tour title, which he claimed at the Scandinavian Invitation in 2019.
SA Open champion Daniel van Tonder will also be taking part. In fact, it will be the 30-year-old’s first start since he claimed his SA Open title at Sun City in early December.
A couple of multiple DP World Tour event winners, Brandon Stone and Dean Burmester could also feature prominently this week. The big-hitting Burmester has performed well in the desert swing before, finishing third at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in January 2020.
Stone, meanwhile, will aim to add to his three DP World Tour titles as his last came at the Scottish Open, four years ago now, in 2018.
South Africans in the field
Garrick Higgo, Brandon Stone, Dean Burmester, Erik van Rooyen, Justin Harding, Thriston Lawrence, Daniel van Tonder, George Coetzee, Justin Walters, Darren Fichardt, Richard Sterne, Charl Schwartzel, Oliver Bekker.