Graeme Storm celebrates after winning the 2017 SA Open. Photo: Christiaan Kotze/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG - The 117th SA Open will tee off on Thursday morning at Johannesburg's Glendower Golf Club. Here's everything you need to know about South Africa's major and the Glendower course.

It was established in 1903, making it the second oldest Open in the world (the Open Championship is the oldest and was first played in 1860).

Gary Player is the most successful player in the tournament’s history, with 13 victories over four decades between 1956 and 1981.

Bobby Locke won nine titles, Sid Brews eight and George Fotheringham five times.

The defending champion this week is England’s Graeme Storm (who beat Rory McIlroy at the fourth extra hole of a playoff a year ago after finishing at 18-under-par).

The last South African to win was Brandon Stone, in 2016.

The tournament will be played at Glendower for the sixth time after first being played there in 2013. It measures 6 944m and is regularly ranked in the top five courses in SA.

The tournament record score is 264 (24-under-par), recorded by Ernie Els at Humewood in Port Elizabeth in 2006.

Last 10 winners

2017: Graeme Storm

2016: Brandon Stone

2015: Andy Sullivan

2013: Morten Orum Madsen

2012: Henrik Stenson

2011: Hennie Otto

2010: Ernie Els

2009: Richie Ramsay

2008: Richard Sterne

2007: James Kingston

Three key holes - Glendower’s “Amen Corner”

The 13th, 522m, par-five - Sparrowhawk: Risk and reward, this is the longest of the par-fives and for the longer hitters favouring the right side of the fairway it will give them a chance of reaching the green in two shots. Players will face a daunting second shot with a long iron or fairway wood to a green surrounded by water.

The 14th, 158m, par-three - Little Swift: This short par-three is protected by bunkers all around the green. Finding the middle of this green with a short to mid iron is very important as the two-tier green has bite.

The 15th, 500m, par-five - Crested Barbet: A good tester with water down the left side, and bunkers and water down the right side of the fairway. Players should favour the left side, as this makes the lay-up approach easier. The third shot is the toughest here; the big green has many slopes and is undulating. Finding the right level is crucial.

Cape Times

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