Despite still being nearly a month away from Christmas 2016, the new European Tour season begins this week after only a two week break following the exciting 2016 climax at the DP World Tour Championships in Dubai.
Since its inaugural event in 1995, won by European Tour stalwart Ernie Els, the Alfred Dunhill Championship has been a mainstay on the European Tour calendar. Since its move from Houghton Golf Club in 2004 to Leopard Creek Country Club in 2005, the event has not only been one of the most popular but also one of the most iconic on the schedule with the course set in the edge of the Kruger National Park and regularly invaded by a wide variety of the native animal inhabitants.
South African's have a long tradition of success at this event on home soil with the last 5 trophies remaining in the country, Masters Champion Charl Schwartzel winning three out of the five himself, Branden Grace and Garth Mulroy the others.
However this season there is one Englishman who is keen to upset the familiar trend of South African champions. Champions of Golf professional Marcus Armitage has flown to South Africa excited for the season ahead on the European Tour, his first as a professional, but with his sights firmly set on this week’s challenge.
Marcus has enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame, only last year he was on the EuroPro Tour, third tier of professional golf, but after a strong season including several wins Marcus progressed to the Challenge Tour, a step up both on and off the course yet this still didn't phase the Howley Hall professional. Despite a mediocre season by his exacting standards Marcus turned it all around with only a few events to spare as he went on to win the Foshan Open in China which lifted him to well inside the top 15 on the Order of Merit, with the top 15 on the Order of Merit gaining their European Tour cards for the following season Marcus was in a great position to reach the highest echelon of professional golf in 2017.
Marcus ultimately achieved his dream in November 2016 at the season ending NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, finishing the event in 10th place and finishing 11th on the season ending Order of Merit.
Marcus will play in South Africa at the Alfred Dunhill Championship this week before going to Hong Kong for the UBS Hong Kong Open, where he is currently a reserve, but hoping to earn his place in the starting field.
Good luck Marcus from all at Champions of Golf