Even Charl Schwartzel, as humble as he is, has to acknowledge that he really is the man to beat when the Alfred Dunhill Championship tees off at Leopard Creek on Thursday.
He has won the tournament four times already, and, should he win again, he will join a very exclusive club of players who have won the same European Tour event on five or more occasions, joining the group consisting of Tiger Woods, Tom Watson and Bernhard Langer.
Schwartzel is 122-under-par for the Alfred Dunhill Championship in his career. That’s 77 strokes better than the next-best man.
“There’s a lot going for me around here, and I’ve had some good time off. I’ve played just enough to be tournament-ready and not over-played. So I’m in a good position going into this week,” he said.
Branden Grace, the 2014 champion who got married last week, is also in a great frame of mind.
“It’s always nice to come back as a past champion at this place. But, you know, it’s just one of those places too, whether you’ve won here or not, it is
just such a nice place to come back to.”
And BMW SA Open champion Brandon Stone has also found form, finishing in second place in last week’s Lion of Africa Cape Town Open.
“My game feels good. I always enjoy coming here to Leopard Creek. It suits a ball-striker’s game so I’m looking forward to it.”