There are 11 South African golfers in next week’s British Open, and there is one last chance for three more players to play force way into the 147th edition of the world’s most venerable Major championship at Carnoustie.
For Jacques Kruyswijk, Dean Burmester, and Christiaan Bezuidenhout, this week’s Scottish Open at Gullane represents an opportunity to get into The Open for the first time in their careers.
For Trevor Immelman, Darren Fichardt, Brandon Stone, Richard Sterne, Thomas Aiken, Haydn Porteous and Justin Walters, it’s a chance to play it one more time.
Of the three players who have yet to play in The Open, Bezuidenhout had the best finish in last week’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, with his share of 19th, and seems to have the game that can adapt best to links golf ahead of the stern challenge that Carnoustie will present.
That’s not to say that Burmester, who finished 28th in Ireland, or Kruyswijk, who missed the cut, will not be able to adapt their big-hitting high games to what is required if the wind gets up at either Gullane or Carnoustie.
Of the 11 players that are already in at The Open, Louis Oosthuizen, Dylan Frittelli, Ernie Els, George Coetzee, Zander Lombard and Erik van Rooyen will grab the chance to play at Gullane in an attempt to hone their games ahead of Carnoustie.
Van Rooyen came close to his maiden European Tour title in Ireland last week, with only a stuttering performance in the final round preventing him from cruising to a victory which seemed inevitable when he led by four shots after 54 holes.
He will want to take that experience and grow with hit ahead of The Open.
In the Open but missing in Scotland this week are Charl Schwartzel, Branden Grace, Shaun Norris and Retief Goosen, as well as amateur Jovan Rebula.