Long, brutal Blair Atholl course to test SA Open Championship field

The 2022 Investec South African Open Championship kicks off tomorrow at the Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate. Set to run from 1 to 4 December, the event is back on the DP World Tour with a purse of $1.5-million. Some of the country’s finest golfing talents will be vying for the chance to claim SA’s most historic title.
As the saying goes, a lot can change in a year. And in the case of the South African Open Championship, it has.
The 2021 South African Open took place at the Gary Player Country Club. And for the first time since 2013, it did not form a part of the DP World Tour schedule – the result of a rise in cases of the Covid-19 Omicron variant at the time.
The event was run by the Sunshine Tour with a total purse of $500,000 – a drop of more than 50% from the previous year. Daniel van Tonder narrowly edged out Oliver Bekker to take the title and the R1.2-million winner’s cheque.
Fast-forward 12 months and the SA Open is back on the DP World Tour, with a new title sponsor in the form of Investec.
With a purse that has tripled to $1.5m, the event is being held from 1 to 4 December at the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate in Lanseria – another celebrated Gary Player design.
The SA Open is one of the oldest golf tournaments in the world, with a history dating back to 1903, and some of the country’s finest talents will take to the fairways of Blair Atholl for a chance at claiming the historic title.
The veterans
South African stars Charl Schwartzel – the 2o11 Masters champion – and nine-time DP World Tour winner Branden Grace, will be among those teeing it up at Blair Atholl on Thursday. Both Grace and Schwartzel joined the controversial LIV Golf Invitational Series earlier this year, and have each won an event on the lucrative circuit.
Grace will be looking to replicate his 2019 SA Open triumph, where he fired a scintillating final-round 62 to claim the title at Randpark. On the other hand, Schwartzel, despite having 11 DP World Tour victories to his name, is still in search of his first SA Open title – his closest call coming in the form of a playoff loss to England’s Andy Sullivan in 2015.
Schwartzel is an honorary life member at Blair Atholl, and holds the course ...