Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The field for the 2017 Joburg Open has been increased from 206 to 240 professionals and they will battle it out for a share of the R16.5m purse and the three qualifying spots for The Open Championship up for grabs next season.

The Joburg Open remains the only South African tournament serving as an official qualifier for The Open Championship in the UK and the stakes could not be higher to clinch the title.

In a major change in 2017‚ the Asian Tour has been added as the third sanctioning tour to endorse the Joburg Open with the PGA’s Sunshine Tour and European Tour.

Some of the biggest names from the three tours billed for the tournament include the Sunshine Tour’s Louis Oosthuizen‚ former tournament champions Richard Sterne‚ Haydn Porteus and Darren Fichardt.

The 240 players will take to the greens at the Firethorn and Bushwillow courses at Randpark Golf Club starting on December 7 before the cut is made at close of play on Friday.

The remaining 65 players‚ including ties‚ proceed to the final two rounds‚ which will be played on Saturday and Sunday.

"We have brought out a range of delicious food trucks and craft stalls in the public facility for the enjoyment of spectators in true Joburg style‚" said Bongi Mokaba‚ events director of the City of Johannesburg and tournament promoter of the 12th edition of the Joburg Open.

Another annual initiative is the hosting of the Joburg Open Golf Development Clinic, during which 10 pro golfers will share their knowledge with the youth from communities such as Alexandra and Eldorado Park.

The golf clinic is part of the Joburg Open Legacy Project supported by the city council‚ which works to demystify the notion that golf is an elite sport.

"We are excited about enhancements to the Open‚ which now proudly stands as the only trisanctioned tournament in SA, said Mokaba.

TimesLIVE

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