A New Sponsor and Venue for SAGA’s premier Championship
A new sponsor and brand new venue greet 144 amateur golfers when they tee up in the annual Sanlam South African Amateur Championship on Sunday (27 February) at the Vaal de Grace Golf Estate approximately 120 kms south of Johannesburg.
For the last three years Glacier by Sanlam have been the title sponsor for the South African Golf Association’s (SAGA) premier championship. “We are really pleased that Sanlam have remained as the title sponsor, but in a slightly different arrangement to previous years,” said Colin Burger, President of the SAGA. “We have had a long association with Sanlam who have been a great supporter of amateur golf for many years and continue to do so.”
“Sanlam’s commitment to providing opportunities for amateur golfers has grown tremendously over the past few years,” said Gary van Loggerenberg, Manager: Sponsorship for Sanlam. “The company has established itself as a driving force in this environment.”
The venue, Vaal de Grace Golf Estate, which was designed by the Nick Price Group, has only been in operation since April 2008. “This is the first top end amateur championship to be played on our course,” said Jacques Coetzee, Operations Manager for the golf estate. The par 72 championship layout has been built on an island, with the Vaal River running on either side. “All but four holes are located on the island, a unique feature of our facility.”
The nearest town, only a few kilometres away, is Parys.
A strong field, with a good sprinkling of international participation, will take up the challenge presented by the formidable new layout which measures 6,711 metres from the championship tees.
The format of competition commences with a Qualifying Round made up of 36 Holes Stroke Play, 18 holes played on Sunday and Monday. The leading 64 players, on conclusion of the Qualifying Round, qualify to participate in the Match Play, which commences on Tuesday. All matches will be played over 18 holes, except the final which will be decided on Friday 4th March, over 36 holes.
Last year’s champion was Englishman Laurie Canter. He managed to win the double, being both the Qualifying Round and the Match Play, which was played at East London Golf Club. He has not entered this year.
Despite this there is no shortage of quality players participating in what is expected to be a keenly contested championship. Most of the South Africa’s top amateurs have entered which include Brandon Stone, Jared Harvey, the current SA Stroke Play Champion, and Haydn Porteous, an exciting young prospect from Modderfontein Golf Club.
In addition Scotland have ten players participating which includes Michael Stewart, the country’s top ranked player, according to the latest Scottish Golf Union’s Rankings.