PGA European - Joburg Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, January 8th through Sunday, January 11th
SITE: Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, Johannesburg, South Africa
COURSE ARCHITECT: West Course - Laurie Waters (1909), Mark Muller (1998),
         East Course - Robert Grimsdell (1935), Mark Muller (1998)
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 7,590 (East Course)
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 516 yds10 - Par 4 518 yds
2 - Par 3 253 yds11 - Par 4 500 yds
3 - Par 4 475 yds12 - Par 3 198 yds
4 - Par 4 476 yds13 - Par 4 420 yds
5 - Par 3 177 yds14 - Par 4 452 yds
6 - Par 5 580 yds15 - Par 4 481 yds
7 - Par 4 420 yds16 - Par 3 208 yds
8 - Par 5 553 yds17 - Par 4 387 yds
9 - Par 4 425 yds18 - Par 5 551 yds
36 3,875 Yds35 3,715 Yds
PAR: 71
YARDAGE: 7,119 (West Course)
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 409 yds10 - Par 4 422 yds
2 - Par 5 536 yds11 - Par 4 372 yds
3 - Par 4 465 yds12 - Par 4 451 yds
4 - Par 4 386 yds13 - Par 3 206 yds
5 - Par 3 121 yds14 - Par 4 475 yds
6 - Par 4 408 yds15 - Par 5 535 yds
7 - Par 4 492 yds16 - Par 3 178 yds
8 - Par 3 234 yds17 - Par 4 381 yds
9 - Par 5 554 yds18 - Par 4 494 yds
36 3,605 Yds35 3,514 Yds
Annual:  3rd
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9:30-12:30 p.m. (et) - taped
Defending Champion:  Richard Sterne
Runner-Up:  Garth Mulroy, Magnus A. Carlsson
Tournament Record:  266 (Ariel Canete, 2007)
54-Hole Record:  199 (Ariel Canete, 2007)
36-Hole Record:  132 (James Kingston, Hennie Otto, Jake Roos, 2007)
Course Record:  63 (Andrew McLardy, 2007 - West Course)
  64 (Edoardo Molinari, 2007 - East Course)
Total Purse:  $1,547,681 (1,100,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $257,956; 2nd Place - $171,964; 3rd Place - $96,891
2008 Finish
Richard Sterne *271Mark Murless275
Garth Mulroy271Louis Moolman275
Magnus A. Carlsson271Tyrone Ferreira276
Darren Clarke273Five players at277
Chris Williams275

* - Won in Playoff

Past Joburg Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2008*Richard Sterne (271) -- Garth Mulroy, Magnus A. Carlsson
2007Ariel Canete (266) -- Andrew McLardy

* - Won in Playoff

Top Contenders in the Field
Richard SterneT-17Won
Garth MulroyT-34T-2
Ariel CaneteWonT-9
Andrew McLardy2ndT-14
Charl SchwartzelT-19T-14
Louis OosthuizenT-19T-32
Raphael Jacquelin---T-32
James KingstonT-8T-41
Edoardo MolinariT-8T-67
Patrik SjolandT-55T-76
Hennie Otto3rdmc
Anton Haigmcmc
Darren FichardtT-47wd
David Frostmc---
Retief Goosen------
Anders Hansen------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Richard Sterne
Darkhorse - Chris Wood
Last Week's Pick to Win (Henrik Stenson) - Finished tied for 34th
Last Week's Darkhorse (Johan Edfors) - Finished tied for 51st
The European Tour resumes its 2009 schedule this week with the Joburg Open in South Africa. The 2009 campaign started in November with the HSBC Champions Tournament in China and finished up a five-evnet stint in 2008 with the South African Open Championship in December. This will be the sixth event of the 2009 season and the third consecutive in South Africa. This event is co- sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour of South Africa.

The big names on the European Tour are not competing this week. The highest- ranked player in the field is world No. 43 and defending champion Richard Sterne, a native of South Africa. Sterne has won the last two events on the European Tour, both held in South Africa - the Alfred Dunhill Championship and South African Open Championship. Sterne will try to become the first player since Seve Ballesteros in 1986 to win three consecutive tournaments on the European Tour. Ballesteros captured The Irish Open, the Monte Carlo Open and the Open de France. Ballesteros and Nick Faldo, in 1983, are the only two players to achieve this feat on the European Tour. Faldo won the Open de France, Martini International and Care Plan International.

Retief Goosen, the 2001 and 2004 U.S. Open champion, is also in the field. Goosen, from South Africa, has not won an event in two years. His last victory was the Qatar Masters in January, 2007 on the European Tour. Goosen is currently ranked 45th in the world rankings.

Last year, Sterne defeated Garth Mulroy and Magnus A. Carlsson with a birdie on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the Joburg Open. Sterne fired a six-under 65 in the final round at Royal Johannesburg, posting four birdies in his last eight holes, including two in a row at the end, to make it into the clubhouse with the lead at 13-under 271. Mulroy and Carlsson made three birdies apiece on the back nine to shoot matching five-under 66s and force the playoff. Like Sterne, Carlsson finished with back-to-back birdies at the 17th and 18th holes. Sterne made birdie from a fairway bunker at the first playoff hole, the par-five 18th, after knocking a four-iron from 215 yards to 25 feet. It was his best shot of the tournament. But Carlsson and Mulroy also made birdies there, with Carlsson blasting out from a greenside bunker to two feet and Mulroy rolling in a 10-foot putt. Back at the 18th again for the second extra hole, Sterne had the immediate advantage as the only one of the three players who didn't hit into a bunker off the tee. Carlsson knocked his sand shot into the rough, while Mulroy only managed to blast his midway up the fairway. Meanwhile, Sterne reached the green in two shots again, sticking his ball within 10 feet. Carlsson chipped to 18 feet and rolled his birdie try past the right side of the cup. Sterne then came up short on his eagle putt and tapped in for a birdie, putting the pressure on Mulroy. Faced with a four- footer and a chance to force another playoff hole, Mulroy lipped out his putt to take par and give Sterne the win.

Gary Boyd recorded the first hole-in-one in tournament history last year when he aced the 12th hole on the East Course in the second round. Boyd finished in a tie for 32nd.

In 2007, Ariel Canete had three birdies in the final four holes to win his first European Tour title at the Joburg Open. Canete closed with a final-round 67 for a total of 19-under-par 266 and a two-shot win over Andrew McLardy. Canete was the only player in the field to shoot four rounds in the 60s.

The expanded 200-player field will compete on the East and West courses at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. The field consists of 100 players from each of the European and Sunshine Tours. The golfers will play both courses during the first two rounds, while the East Course will be the only course used for the final two days. The East Course at Royal Johannesburg has held the South African Open seven times, with the last being in 1986 when David Frost captured the event. Frost is in the field this week.

Next week, the European Tour heads to the United Arab Emirates for the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, where Germany's Martin Kaymer captured last year's event.

01/06 13:47:35 ET

As of January 6, 2009, at 01:47 PM ET

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