Wed. Nov 25th, 2020

US Open golf 2020: The six South Africans in the field

Half a dozen South African golfers are among the 144 men vying for the 120th US Open Championship.

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The 120th US Open Championship will take place between 17 and 20 September at Winged Foot Golf Club’s West Course, in Mamaroneck, New York with six South Africans making the field.

Due to the pandemic, US Open organisers scrapped the qualifying tournament.

Usually the third major of the year, the US Open will be the second of golf’s major championships held in 2020. The Masters will be staged in November while the next Open Championships will only be staged in 2021.

South Africans at the US Open

Three South Africans have won the US Open. The first win going to Gary Player in 1965. Ernie Els lifted the trophy in 1994 and 1997 before Retief Goosen emulated is double with triumphs in 2001 and 2004.

Here are the six South Africans bidding to join that elite group 

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

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Christiaan Bezuidenhout of South Africa plays his shot from the 15th tee during the third round of the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club on 15 August 2020 in Greensboro, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Christiaan Bezuidenhout will make his US Open debut after being among the top 70 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of 15 March 2020. 

Bezuidenhout has five professional victories to his name, with one coming on the European Tour (2019 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters). The 26-year-old also lost a playoff to Lucas Herbert earlier this year at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Justin Harding

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Justin Harding of South Africa looks on during day four of the Estrella Damm N. A. Andalucia Masters golf tournament at Real Club Valderrama on 06 September 2020 in Sotogrande, Spain. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)

Justin Harding will be making his second US Open start after finishing 10th on the points list in the European Tour’s five-event UK Swing. 

Harding has earned ten worldwide professional victories, but his lone win on the European Tour came in the 2019 Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, which helped get into the 2019 US Open at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links by being among the top 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The former Lamar University golfer also posted a pair of wins in 2018 on the Asian Tour. The 31-year-old’s seven other victories have come on the Sunshine Tour. Harding also finished in a tie for 12th in the 2019 Masters.

He missed the cut in the 2019 US Open.

Shaun Norris

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Shaun Norris of South Africa plays his shot from the third tee during the second round of the 2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park on 07 August 2020, in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Shaun Norris is another South African making his first US Open start, thanks to being among the top 70 in the Official World Golf Ranking as of the 15 March deadline. 

Norris has seven worldwide wins behind him, four of which have come on the Japan Golf Tour. 

The 38-year-old’s last victory came in the 2019 Tokai Classic. He also won the 2017 Japan Golf Tour Championship. Norris’ best major-championship finish came in the 2018 Open Championship when he tied for 61st. 

Norris represented South Africa in the World Amateur Team Championship in 2002. He then turned professional shortly after the championship.

Louis Oosthuizen

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Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa putts on the 17th green during the third round of The Northern Trust at TPC Boston on 22 August 2020 in Norton, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Louis Oosthuizen won The Open Championship at St. Andrews to claim his only major title to date.

Oosthuizen has come agonisingly close to adding to his major haul. 

The 37-year-old has four second-place finishes in majors, including the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay, when he shot a championship-record 199 for his final 54 holes to share second with Dustin Johnson. His final-round 67 included a 29 on the second nine, a feat only achieved three other times in US Open history. He also finished as a runner-up in The Open Championship in 2015 at St. Andrews, falling in a three-hole aggregate playoff won by Zach Johnson, and lost to Bubba Watson in a playoff in the 2012 Masters. In 2017, he finished tied for second in the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow. 

Of Oosthuizen’s 14 worldwide victories, nine have come on the European Tour. 

He represented South Africa in the 2002 World Amateur Team Championship. 

As a professional, he has represented the International Team in the Presidents Cup in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

JC Ritchie

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JC Ritchie of South Africa on 12th tee during the first round of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at Heritage Golf Club on 30 November 2017 in Bel Ombre, Mauritius. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

J.C. Ritchie earned his first US Open start by winning the Order of Merit on the Sunshine Tour. The 26-year-old Standerton native owns seven victories on that circuit, including a pair of wins in 2020. 

Ritchie’s last victory came when he successfully defended his title at the Limpopo Championship on 2 February. His maiden professional win came in the 2017 Zimbabwe Open.

Erik Van Rooyen

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Erik van Rooyen lines up his putt on the 3rd hole during round one of the Safeway Open at Silverado Resort on 10 September 2020 in Napa, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Number 48 on the Official World Golf Rankings Erik Van Rooyen will make his second US Open start after being inside the top 70 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of 15 March. 

He tied for 43rd last year at Pebble Beach. He attended the University of Minnesota before turning professional in 2013. In 2019, he collected his first European Tour victory at the Scandanavian Invitation. He also owns two victories on the European Challenge Tour. His best finish in a major is a tie for eighth in the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage State Park.  

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