Five who carry SA’s hopes

2015-04-09 00:00

THE 79th edition of the Masters tournament tees off today in Augusta, Georgia. While Irishman Rory McIlroy goes in search of his first Masters title to secure a grand slam of Major wins, five South African golfers also feature at the prestigious invitational event.


World ranking:84

Career PGA Tour Wins: 19

Best performance at Masters:2nd place in 2000 & 2004

Since his inaugural Masters appearance back in 1994, Els has competed in 20 tournaments, while making the cut 15 of those times. He has had a mixed start to the year. He failed to make the cut at the first four PGA Tour tournaments, but made amends at the Arnold Palmer ­Invitational in March, finishing in tied 13th at 10 under. He struggled at the Shell Houston Open last weekend, only managing to finish in tied 57th at three under. As one of South Africa’s most prolific golfers, it would be fitting for Els to find his form and join Schwartzel, ­Immelman and the legendary Gary Player as South ­Africa’s Masters winners.


World ranking: 41

Career PGA Tour Wins: 19

Best performance at Masters: Tied 18

Grace made his first Masters appearance back in 2013, where he finished tied 18th. He also played in the first two rounds of the 2014 edition, but failed to make the cut despite shooting a second round 62. Grace has had mixed form this year. After winning the European Tour’s Qatar Open in January, he struggled to maintain that form in the next few tournaments. He finished 54th at the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship in March, he was tied 62nd at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month before finishing tied 30th at the Texas Open two weeks ago.


World ranking: 579

Career PGA Tour Wins: 2

Best performance at Masters: 1st place in 2008

The 2008 Green Jacket winner is back at the Masters this year, mainly thanks to his lifetime invitation as a ­previous winner. His record at Augusta is worth noting. Having played in 12 tournaments and making the cut in nine of those, he has finished in the top 20 four times, excluding his win. He has had a poor start to the year though, failing to make the cut in all five tournaments he’s played in. He will also be looking to make amends for his poor showing at last year’s Masters, where he shot a first round 79 followed by a second round 74 — which resulted in him being cut from the weekend’s play.


World ranking: 37

Career PGA Tour Wins:1

Best performance at Masters:2nd place in 2012

Oosthuizen has made the cut in only two of his six Masters tournaments. However, those two performances were impressive. After finishing second in 2012, where he shot a first round 68, a second round 72 and two 69s, he failed to make the cut in 2013. But last year he fared far better, finishing 25th. He started the 2014 tournament well with a first round 69, but failed to back that round up in the next three rounds. Oosthuizen has only played in four tournaments this year. He started the year off well, finishing sixth at the World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship in March. He failed to make the cut at the Valspar Championship, but finished tied ninth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational last month. But he struggled last week at the Houston Open, and failed to make the weekend cut. Oosthuizen will be looking for a much improved performance today.


World ranking: 36

Career PGA Tour Wins: 1

Best performance at Masters: 1st place in 2011

Schwartzel has featured at every Masters since his debut in 2010. He peaked the following year, winning the Green Jacket in fine style. His next three tournaments saw mixed results. He finished tied 50th and 25th in 2012 and 2013, but failed to make the cut last year after two poor rounds. He started off 2015 at the Northern Trust Open, where he finished tied 41st. He struggled at the Honda Classic in March and failed to make the cut there. The World Golf Championships Cadillac Championship saw him fare slightly better, finishing tied 44th at five over. He turned it around at the Houston Open but quality performances from most of the field meant he had to content himself with tied 42nd place, even though he finished at six under. But with the lure of putting on the coveted Green Jacket once again, Schwartzel will be looking for a strong start when he tees off today at Augusta.

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