Christiaan Bezuidenhout leads SA challenge at PGA Championship

Christian Bezuidenhout of South Africa prepares to play his shot from the first tee during the first round of the Houston Open at Memorial Park Golf Course on November 11, 2021 in Houston, Texas

Christian Bezuidenhout will lead the five-man SA player charge at the PGA Championship. Picture: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images via AFP

Published May 15, 2024

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Christiaan Bezuidenhout will lead the five-man SA player charge at the PGA Championship starting at Valhalla Golf Club in Kentucky, USA, on Thursday.

Dean Burmester, Thriston Lawrence, Erik van Rooyen and Ryan van Velzen will be the other players flying the South African flag this week.

Bezuidenhout, at 53rd in the world golf rankings, is the top SA player in the field. The 29-year-old has found some good form in recent weeks, with a tie for third at the ISPS Handa Championship and a tie for 16th at the Wells Fargo Championship last week.

It will be the 14th major that Bezuidenhout tees it up in, and he will want to improve on his best finish of a share of 30th in 2021.

Van Rooyen a good bet

Van Rooyen, though, may be the best bet from an SA perspective. He was the only player from the Rainbow Nation to make the weekend at The Masters at Augusta last month.

The 34-year-old ended 55th on 13-over for the week in what he described as a ‘brutal’ Masters. He did, however, finish ahead of Tiger Woods. The ailing 15-time major winner, Woods, was extended a special invitation to the event this week.

Interestingly, Burmester is in the field this week with a special invitation extended his way. The 34-year-old is a member of the Saudi-funded LIV Golf Tour and recently won the Miami stop of the series last month. In fact, his paycheque that week eclipsed that of Masters champion Scottie Scheffler.

Scheffler walked away with $3.6 million (R69 million) while Burmester pocketed $4 million (R76.7 million).

Lawrence, meanwhile, will have felt relieved to make the field for the PGA Championship. The top 100 in the world rankings the week before the event are extended invitations, and the 27-year-old was indeed the 100th ranked player on the globe last week. Had the cutoff been on Monday, he would have missed out by one spot.

Possibly the most excited, and possibly nervous, of the SA players will be Ryan van Velzen. The 22-year-old won the Sunshine Tour order of merit last month, which earned him an invite to the PGA Championship as well as The Open Championship later in the year.

@Golfhackno1

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