Ernie Els of South Africa tees off at the Gary Player Golf Course at Sun City. Picture: WARREN LITTLE/ GETTY IMAGES
Ernie Els of South Africa tees off at the Gary Player Golf Course at Sun City. Picture: WARREN LITTLE/ GETTY IMAGES

Ernie Els will headline a strong field of SA stars at the 2019 Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club from November 28 to December 1.

The former world No 1 and winner of this prestigious championship in 2005 will be joined in the field by countrymen and fellow former champions Brandon Stone (2016 champion), Garth Mulroy (2011) and Richard Sterne (2008).

SA’s Zander Lombard, fresh off contending for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Erik van Rooyen, Justin Harding and rookie professional Wilco Nienaber have also confirmed their places in this co-sanctioned tournament between the Sunshine Tour and European Tour.

And Jayden Schaper, the SA Stroke Play champion and winner of the Junior Players Championship in the US in 2019, has been granted an invitation to play as one of the leading young stars of GolfRSA.

The strong local field makes for a thrilling finale to the SA golf year. The  tournament follows the Nedbank Golf Challenge as the final tournament played on SA fairways in 2019, and also tees off the European Tour’s new 2020 season.

Multiple Major winner Els will feature at Leopard Creek shortly before he heads to Australia as the captain of the International Team in the Presidents Cup, and is looking to add to his success in a tournament where he has had one victory and a second-place finish.

Van Rooyen and Harding are back at Leopard Creek at the end of a breakthrough year for both on the European Tour. Van Rooyen said his maiden European Tour victory in the Scandinavian Invitation, while Harding broke through with a victory in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters.

Lombard came close to the biggest victory of his career when he led the 2019 Nedbank Golf Challenge for two days before finishing tied eighth. Both Nienaber and Schaper represent the new generation of SA’s rising stars, with Nienaber embarking on his professional journey on the back of a glittering amateur career, and Schaper now ranked the No 1 amateur in SA.

The 2019 Alfred Dunhill Championship will also be after the lead of the Open Championship in radically reducing single-use plastic at the tournament. A new partnership with Bluewater, Refill Co and Consol, the first of its kind on the Sunshine Tour, will encourage fans and golfers to purchase Alfred Dunhill Championship-branded glass bottles at the course, or bring their own reusable bottles, which they can refill free of charge at various points on the golf course.