Taking place in November each year, this event earned a place in the history books in 2021 when becoming the first tournament to be held under the new DP World Tour branding. Established in 2007 the tournament quickly became one of the most prestigious in South Africa. Co-sanctioned by South Africa’s Sunshine Tour and the European Tour from the outset, the tournament benefits from significantly bigger fields and higher prize money than many other events in the nation.
Held at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club between 2007 and 2017, Charl Schwartzel became the first dual winner when landing back-to-back editions in 2010 and 2011. The tournament disappeared from the calendar in 2018 and 2019 but returned from this brief hiatus in 2020. Held at the Randpark Golf Club in 2020, the tournament has now taken up residence at the Houghton Golf Club – a tree-lined, hazard-strewn track which places a strong emphasis on straight hitting from the tee.
|2022||Houghton Golf Club||Dan Bradbury|
|2021||Randpark Golf Club||Thriston Lawrence|
2022: Dan Bradbury
With such a lot of talk about the role of money in professional golf during 2022 it is especially pleasing to see a genuine fairy tale take place. That is a fair characterisation of Dan Bradbury’s win at the 2022 Joburg Open after securing his place in the field thanks to a sponsor’s invite. The 23-year-old only turned professional in July and he was preparing for a long slog to try and secure his DP World Tour playing card this season. He managed that, as well as a spot in the Open Championship, in style, as he beat Sami Valimaki by three shots for his maiden win on tour.
As you might expect of a rookie trying to close out a win at this level, there were signs of nerves from Bradbury during his final round. Even when victory was all but assured, he made a late mistake with a bogey on his final hole. And yet it was the work he did in between the errors, sewing together an impressive closing round of 67, that most caught the eye.
Three birdies on the front nine on Sunday sent a message to the chasing pack that Bradbury was not in a generous mood. He also managed to get out of some sticky situations on the back nine to suck the life out of the challenge of Valimaki and others. Speaking afterwards, Bradbury said: “It won’t sink in for a few days, I don’t think.”
2021: Thriston Lawrence
The Joburg Open 2021 was proud to be the first event of the new DP World Tour Championship. Unfortunately, things did not go to plan for the organisers. The combination of some horrible weather and the rapid imposition of a travel ban from South Africa saw the Joburg Open reduced to just 36 holes. While the event will live on in the memory of most involved for the wrong reasons, it will forever be warmly remembered by Thriston Lawrence who claimed his maiden DP World Tour title.
Opening rounds of 65 would usually put a player in a strong position to challenge but in this shortened event it was enough for Lawrence to win comfortably. The 24 year old was four shots clear of his nearest challenger, fellow South African Zander Lombard.
The shortening of the tournament meant that Lawrence did not have to cope with the pressure of seeing out a win even if he initially thought he would. He bogeyed the first hole of his third round, which at the time was scheduled to be his last. As it turned out, inclement weather forced the hand of the tournament organisers who took the decision to abandon the third round and settle the Joburg Open on the basis of the first 36 holes. Bookmakers also settled on this basis which was great news for anybody who backed Lawrence at around the 225/1 mark.