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PGA European - Africa Open Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, January 5th through Sunday, January 8th
SITE: East London Golf Club, East London, South Africa
COURSE ARCHITECT: Colonel SV Hotchkin (1893)
PAR: 73
YARDAGE: 6,770
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 5 495 yds10 - Par 3 182 yds
2 - Par 3 176 yds11 - Par 5 527 yds
3 - Par 5 492 yds12 - Par 4 429 yds
4 - Par 4 381 yds13 - Par 4 329 yds
5 - Par 4 331 yds14 - Par 4 434 yds
6 - Par 4 308 yds15 - Par 5 545 yds
7 - Par 4 399 yds16 - Par 4 319 yds
8 - Par 4 383 yds17 - Par 3 164 yds
9 - Par 4 465 yds18 - Par 4 411 yds
37 3,430 Yds36 3,340 Yds
Annual:  5th (3rd on European Tour)
Television:  Golf Channel - Thursday/Sunday -- 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (et) - taped
Defending Champion:  Louis Oosthuizen
Runner-Up:  Manuel Quiros, Chris Wood
Tournament Record:  267 (Retief Goosen, 2009)
54-Hole Record:  198 (James Kingston, Darren Clarke, 2009)
36-Hole Record:  130 (Angel Cabrera, 2009)
Course Record:  61 (Richard Sterne, 2009)
Total Purse:  $1,305,702 (1,000,000 euros)
Shares:  1st Place - $206,953; 2nd Place - $150,155; 3rd Place - $90,354
2011 Finish
Louis Oosthuizen *276Steven O'Hara277
Manuel Quiros276Robert Dinwiddie278
Chris Wood276Six players at279
Jaco Van Zyl277
Charl Schwartzel277

* - Won in Playoff

Past Africa Open Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2011*Louis Oosthuizen (276) -- Manuel Quiros, Chris Wood
2010Charl Schwartzel (272) -- Thomas Aiken
2009Retief Goosen (267) -- Darren Clarke, Branden Grace, Michael Hoey,
Darren Fichardt
2008Shaun Norris (275) -- Nic Henning

* - Won in Playoff

Top Contenders in the Field
Louis Oosthuizen---Won
Chris Wood---T-2
Jaco Van ZylT-28T-4
Steven O'HaraT-43T-4
Robert Dinwiddiemc7th
Jbe' Kruger3rdT-8
Branden GraceT-8T-8
Shaun NorrismcT-8
Markus Brier---T-8
Thomas Aiken2ndT-14
James KingstonT-8T-26
George CoetzeeT-2871st
Retief Goosen---mc
Garth Mulroy------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Louis Oosthuizen
Darkhorse - Garth Mulroy
Last Week's Pick to Win - Dec 8-11 (Rory McIlroy) - Finished tied for 11th
Last Week's Darkhorse - Dec 8-11 (Anders Hansen) - Finished tied for 44th
The 2012 European Tour season begins this week with the first of three straight tournaments in South Africa. The event is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and Sunshine Tour. Two players in the field are ranked in the top-60 in the world - defending champion and 2010 British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen (40) and two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen (53). Both players are from South Africa. Oosthuizen played well at the end of the 2011 season, where he finished in the top-eight in his last five tournaments on the European Tour.

Last year, Oosthuizen birdied the first playoff hole to win. Oosthuizen finished at 16-under-par 276 with Chris Wood and Manuel Quiros. The threesome played No. 18 on the par-73 at East London Golf Club as the playoff hole. Oosthuizen, whose tee shot bounced out of the rough into the fairway, dropped his approach just inside 10 feet from the hole. Wood, also playing from the short grass, hit his second to 25 feet. Quiros had the best drive, but knocked his approach over the 18th green. Quiros got up and down for par before Wood two-putted for his par. Oosthuizen drained the birdie putt for his third European Tour victory.

Should he triumph again, Oosthuizen would join Ernie Els (2002-04 Heineken Classic), Trevor Immelman (2003-04 South African Open Championship) and Charl Schwartzel (2010-11 Joburg Open) as South African players to make a successful defense of a European Tour title.

In 2010, Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, fired a six-under 67 in the final round to come from behind and win by a single shot over Thomas Aiken. Schwartzel completed the event at 20-under-par 272.

This is the fourth straight year that the event is being held at East London Golf Club in East London. The inaugural event in 2008 was staged at the Fish River Sun Country Club in Port Alfred.

The European Tour continues its stay in South Africa next week with the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, where Schwartzel will defend his title.

01/03 16:19:22 ET

As of January 3, 2012, at 04:19 PM ET

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