When Henrik Stenson’s name was announced as one of the contestants for last year’s SA Open at the Glendower Golf Course in Joburg, nobody took him seriously. The imposing Swede proved his worth by carding a nail-biting, three-stroke routing over South Africa’s George Coetzee in the final round to win – and gain respect from local fans. Now the Scandinavian will be putting his title on the line when the Sunshine-European Tour’s co-sanctioned tournament gets into swing at the same venue from Thursday. This has been a particularly awesome year for Stenson, who won the?Tour Championship by Coca-Cola, a feat that led to him clinching the FedEx Cup. The win made him the first European winner of the FedEx Cup in its seven-year existence. One of the oldest golf championships in the world, the Open is a principal event on the Sunshine Tour. With a mouthwatering €1.1?million (R15?million) cash prize on offer, every player will be giving it his all to lift the coveted trophy. Prior to Stenson’s victory, the contest was won by South Africans Ernie Els and Hennie Otto in 2010 and 2011, respectively. Before then, the event was called the South African Airways Open and was dominated by locals. It remains to be seen if Stenson will lose his grip in defence of his title this year and allow a South African to defeat him. Only the outcome of the Open will tell.