PGA Tour

SA's US Open contenders

Louis Oosthuizen (File)
Louis Oosthuizen (File)

Cape Town - The US Open tees off on Thursday and it is expected to be a tough week for even the best. Chambers Bay is the venue, and the experts are anticipating one of the toughest Opens in history. The good news for South Africa is that we have no less than 9 participants.

Sport24 looks at who they are and how they are shaping up coming into the tournament:

LOUIS OOSTHUIZEN

Ranking – 27

Best US Open – T9 (2011)

Oosthuizen is South Africa’s form golfer at the moment and has had a successful year without winning anything. Four top 10s in 10 starts have suggested that the 2010 Open champion is on the right track. He is the type of player who can hang around on the tougher courses, and he will be hoping to be in the mix come Sunday.

BRANDEN GRACE

Ranking – 40

Best US Open – T51 (2012)

Grace continues to suggest that he is on the cusp of something big. Two tournament wins in 2015 – even if one was at the low-key Dimension Data Pro-Am – have kept him ticking over. Grace finished 2014 ranked 82nd, so is clearly doing something right this year.

CHARL SCHWARTZEL

Ranking – 46

Best US Open – T9 (2011)

Schwartzel has had just one top 10 finish at a major since 2011, and he’s struggled again in 2015 having managed just three top 10s from 15 starts. With Schwartzel you know that the quality is always there, and if he can get himself through to the weekend then he’ll always back himself.

GEORGE COETZEE

Ranking – 61

Best US Open – T56 (2013)

Winner at the Tshwane Open and the Mauritius Open this year, Coetzee is considered one of the best putters in the country which immediately gives him an edge on greens that are expected to be extremely difficult to manage. The 28-year-old has shown signs this year of the form that gave him a career-high ranking of 41st in early 2013.

ERNIE ELS

Ranking – 102

Best US Open – Winner (1994, 1997)

Els has the pedigree, but his best days are surely behind him. It is hard to see the four-time major champion threatening anybody this weekend. He has missed six cuts from 16 starts this year and has not finished in the top 10 once. Still, a major tournament wouldn’t feel the same without the Big Easy involved.

THOMAS AIKEN

Ranking – 132

Best US Open – Debut

Aiken qualified for Chambers Bay by winning the 2014 Sunshine Tour order of merit. A regular on the European Tour, Aiken has never excelled in the States. He has nothing to lose going into this week, but does have a massive opportunity to make something happen on the biggest stage.

RETIEF GOOSEN

Ranking – 232

Best US Open – Winner (2001, 2004)

The Goose had to qualify for the US Open after his 10-year exemption for his win in 2004 came to an end. It has been good to see him as a regular feature on the PGA Tour this year, but results have not been forthcoming – his best finish a T8 at the Northern Trust Open back in February.

TJAART VAN DER WALT

Ranking – 311

Best US Open – Debut

A dream come true for the 40-year-old, who plays in only his second ever major after appearing at the British Open in 2004. Van der Walt qualified through a sectional qualifier in London last month, and will now be making the trip to one of the toughest majors in recent history. A place in the weekend field would surely be considered a success.

GARTH MULROY

Ranking – 454

Best US Open – T40 (2014)

Mulroy qualified for Chambers Bay along with Van der Walt in England, and this will be his second consecutive appearance at the US Open. On paper, the Durban-born 36-year-old doesn’t stand a chance, but nobody seems quite sure what to make of this course and the experts are expecting literally anything – news that will go down well in the Mulroy camp.  

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