Coetzee hoping to use home advantage in Pretoria


George Coetzee hopes familiar surroundings can help him triumph for a second successive year at the Tshwane Open in Pretoria this week.

In 2015, Coetzee claimed victory by one shot on the course where he learned to play the game, a final-round 65 enough to hold off the charge of Jacques Blaauw - who also returns this year.

Since his triumph at Pretoria Country Club Coetzee has also added another European Tour win at the Mauritius Open, and comes into the tournament in good form.

A week after claiming a tie for seventh at the Qatar Masters, the 29-year-old shot 10-under in the Dubai Desert Classic, earning him a share of 26th place with six other players.

He hopes to be further up the leaderboard in Pretoria, though, as he returns to a course he holds close to his heart.

"It's my home course and I've got a lot of good memories, so I probably know the course better than anyone," he told the European Tour website.

"But I still need to play very well to win. Knowing the course gives me a bit of a head start on some of the guys, but the standard on the tour is so high, just knowing the place well isn't going to be enough. 

"I know I'm playing well. I've struck the ball very well the last three weeks but mentally I haven't been quite as sharp as I would've liked, maybe because I haven't been used to posting really low scores for a while! But if I can get my head right, then I should have a good chance."

Coetzee is one of 22 European Tour winners in the field with a strong South African presence looking to continue their dominance on home soil.

Three of the four events held in South Africa have been won by home players this season so Charl Schwartzel, Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous will be keen to keep that run going.

"I think this week is going to be a fantastic event," said Stone, who won the South Africa Open in January.

"I was speaking to Charl last night and he said he's back to 100 per cent health now and he's hungry to play. When he gets on and when he wants to play he's extremely tough to beat.

"Then guys like Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Zander Lombard, myself and Haydn Porteous, the younger guys challenging those older guys, it sets up for a good little duel during the course of the week."