Joburg Open winner, George William Coetzee tees off at Royal Liverpool Golf Club as the 143rd Open Championship gets underway in Hoylake, England from 17 to 20 July.
The 27 year old from Pretoria scored six-under-par 66 at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington East to finish 19 under par overall, three shots ahead of countryman Justin Walters, Jin Jeong of South Korea and Tyrrell Hatton who were all tied for second spot on 16- under par.
The three top finishers of the Joburg Open, Coetzee, Waltes and Jeong, qualified to play in the Championship Open.
The Joburg Open was Coetzee’s fifth win on the Sunshine Tour, but he had recorded more than 20 top 10 finishes in Europe and had been a runner-up three times.
He is making his fourth consecutive appearance at the Open Championship, the oldest and most prestigious golf major in the world.
Ranked number 72 in the world, Coetzee is up against an elite field of golfers, which includes defending champion, Phil Mickelson, US Masters Champion, Bubba Watson and US Open winner, Martin Kaymer.
Tiger Woods is also staging a comeback following a long injury break.
South Africa is represented at the tournament by eight players, including four Joburg Open Champions Richard Sterne (2008 and 2013), Charl Schwartzel (2010 and 2011), Branden Grace (2012) and Coetzee (2014). Other South Africans at the open are Justin Walters, Louis Oosthuisen, Dawie Van der Walt and Ernie Els who won the Open Championship in 2012.