Volvo Golf Championship tees off in SA

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Volvo Golf Champions - Day Two

South Africa will be hosting the cream of European and local golf stars at the Volvo Championships. The championship which also has the advantage of stimulating the hearts of younger Africans to take up golfing which is yet top be established as a sport which Africans thrive in.

Africa’s foremost golfer in contemporary times has been Ernie Els who is also expected to take part in the tourney.

While a 30-strong elite field contests the Nedbank Golf Challenge at South Africa’s Sun City resort this week, an equally star-studded field, headed by four-time major winner Ernie Els, will line up at Durban Country Club for the Volvo Golf Champions in January.

The Volvo Golf Champions features winners on the European Tour from the past year, as well as established stars who have won more than 10 European Tour titles in a “Tournament of Champions”.

With an increased prize fund of $4-million (R41.7-million), a top field is certain as rising stars battled top veterans.

Record-breaking 20-year-old Matteo Manassero will head up the challenge of the next generation, while Els, a 26-time winner on the European Tour, will be joined by European Ryder Cup stars Miguel Angel Jimenez, three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington, 2010 Open Champion Darren Clarke , eight-time Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie, 17-time European Tour winner Thomas Bjorn and two-time Major winner Jose María Olazábal.

Between them the aforementioned older generation have won 142 European Tour titles and have 170 years of experience playing on the Tour.

By contrast, Italian star Matteo Manassero, a four-time winner on the European Tour before his 20th birthday, is one of a talented group of young twenty-somethings looking to emulate the successes of their elders by adding the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions to their CV.

Rookie of the Year, Peter Uihlein, a 24-year-old American, is the newly crowned winner of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year, having won his maiden title at the 2013 Madeira Islands Open and finished 14th in the Race to Dubai.

Also qualified is 23-year-old Victor Dubuisson from France after his stunning win at the Turkish Airlines Open last month, along with Korea’s 23-year-old Jin Jeong, who won the 2013 Perth International, and Asia’s newest superstar, 24-year-old Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who qualified with a win at the Maybank Malaysian Open and leads the 2013 Asian Tour Order of Merit by an unassailable margin.