South African Open Winners and History

south african open logo

The South African Open is one of the oldest golf championships, dating to 1903. The US Open is eight years older; the Canadian just one year younger.

The South African Open is the flagship event of the Sunshine Tour, and has been co-sanctioned by the European Tour since 1997. The Tournament has special status in the Official World Golf Rankings, with a minimum of 32 points, even if not warranted by the strength of field.

Starting in 2018, the South Africa Open has merged with the Joburg Open, and now is known as the South Africa Open Hosted By The City of Johannesburg. The tournament is held at Rand Park Golf Club.

There is an argument to be made that the South African Open predates its official 1903 start. Starting in 1893, the championship was held as a series of exhibition matches between small groups of professionals. It was not until 1903, however, that the tournament was formally established.

From 1903 to 1907, the event was 36 holes. In 1908, it expanded to 72 holes.

In 1909, the tournament was played for the first time on a course with eighteen grass greens: Potchefstroom Golf Club.

Fred Jangle became the first native-born South African to win the tournament in 1922.

Not surprisingly, Gary Player has the most South African Open victories, with 13.

Bobby Locke was the youngest champion at age 17, and went on to win nine titles.

Charles Bolling and Fred Wadsworth are the only US winners of the South African Open.

A complete list of South African Open Winners follows.

South African Open Winners

YearWinnerScoreTo parMargin
SA Open
2023Dean Burmester277-113 strokes
2022Thriston Lawrence272-161 stroke
2021Daniel van Tonder272-161 stroke
2020 (Dec)Christiaan Bezuidenhout270-185 strokes
2020 (Feb)Branden Grace263-213 strokes
2019Louis Oosthuizen266-186 strokes
2018Chris Paisley267-213 strokes
2017Graeme Storm270–18Playoff
South African
2016Brandon Stone274–142 strokes
2015Andy Sullivan277–11Playoff
2013Morten Ørum Madsen269−192 strokes
2012Henrik Stenson271−173 strokes
2011Hennie Otto274−141 stroke
2010Ernie Els (5)263−25*1 stroke
2009Richie Ramsay275−13Playoff
2008Richard Sterne274−14Playoff
South African Airways Open
2007James Kingston284−41 stroke
2006Ernie Els (4)264−243 strokes
2005Retief Goosen (2)282−101 stroke
2005Tim Clark (2)273−156 strokes
2004Trevor Immelman (2)276−123 strokes
2003Trevor Immelman274−14Playoff
South African
2002Tim Clark269−192 strokes
-Benz South
African Open Championship
2001Mark McNulty (2)280−81 stroke
2000Mathias Grönberg274−141 stroke
Benz –
South African Open
1999David Frost (2)279−51 stroke
South African Open
1998Ernie Els (3)273−153 strokes
1997Vijay Singh270−181 stroke

South African Open Winners from 1997 to present, during the era when the tournament has been sanctioned by the European Tour.

* In 2010, rain washed out the fourth holes during the final two rounds. Players were given a score of “4” on the par 4.

2005 had two events because of rescheduling
2014 had no event because of rescheduling.

South African Open Winners Prior To European Tour Sanctioning

Philips South African Open
1996Ernie Els (2)South Africa275
1995Retief GoosenSouth Africa 275
19941Tony Johnstone (2)Zimbabwe 267
19932 Clinton WhitelawSouth Africa 279
Protea Assurance South African Open
1992 Ernie ElsSouth Africa 275
1991Wayne Westner (2)South Africa 272
1990Trevor DoddsNamibia 285
1989Fred WadsworthUnited States 278
Southern Suns Aouth African Open Championship 
1988Wayne WestnerSouth Africa 275
1987Mark McNultyZimbabwe 278 PO
1986David FrostSouth Africa 275
n Open Championship
1985Gavan LevensonSouth Africa 280
1984Tony JohnstoneZimbabwe 274
1983Charlie BollingUnited States 278
1982No tournament
1981Gary Player (13)South Africa 272 PO
1980Bobby Cole (2)South Africa 279
1979Gary Player (12)South Africa 279
1978Hugh BaiocchiSouth Africa 285
1977 Gary Player (11)South Africa 273
1976 Gary Player (10)South Africa 280
1976 Dale HayesSouth Africa 287 PO
1975 Gary Player (9)South Africa 278
1974 Bobby ColeSouth Africa 272
1973Bob CharlesNew Zealand282
1972 Gary Player (8)South Africa 274
1971 Simon HobdaySouth Africa 276
1970Tommy HortonEngland285
1969 Gary Player (7)South Africa 273
1968 Gary Player (6)South Africa 274
1967 Gary Player (5)South Africa 279
1966 Gary Player (4)South Africa 278
1965 Gary Player (3)South Africa 273
1964No tournamentSouth Africa 
1963 Allan HenningSouth Africa 278
1963 Retief Waltman (2)South Africa 281
1962 Harold Henning (2)South Africa 285
1961 Retief WaltmanSouth Africa 289
1960 Gary Player (2)South Africa 280
1959 Denis HutchinsonSouth Africa 282
1958 Arthur StewartSouth Africa 281
1957 Harold HenningSouth Africa 289 PO
1956 Gary PlayerSouth Africa 286
1955 Bobby Locke (9)South Africa 283
1954 Reg TaylorSouth Africa 289
1953 Jimmy BoydSouth Africa 302 PO
1952 Sid Brews (8)South Africa 305
1951 Bobby Locke (8)South Africa 277
1950 Bobby Locke (7)South Africa 280
1949 Sid Brews (7)South Africa 291
1948 Mickey JanksSouth Africa 298
1947 Ronnie GlennieSouth Africa 293
1946 Bobby Locke (6)South Africa 285
1941–45No tournament due to World War IISouth Africa 
1940 Bobby Locke (5)South Africa 293
1939 Bobby Locke (4)South Africa 279
1938 Bobby Locke (3)South Africa 279
1937 Bobby Locke (2)South Africa 288
1936 Clarence OlanderSouth Africa 297 PO
1935 Bobby LockeSouth Africa 296
1934 Sid Brews (6)South Africa 319
1933 Sid Brews (5)South Africa 297
1932Charles McIlvennyEngland304
1931 Sid Brews (4)South Africa 302
1930 Sid Brews (3)South Africa 297
1929 Archie ToshSouth Africa 315
1928 Jock Brews (4)South Africa 297
1927 Sid Brews (2)South Africa 301
1926 Jock Brews (3)South Africa 301
1925 Sid BrewsSouth Africa 295
1924 Bertie ElkinSouth Africa 316
1923 Jock Brews (2)South Africa 315
1922 Fred JangleSouth Africa 310
1921 Jock BrewsSouth Africa 316
1920 Laurie Waters (4)Scotland302
1919William HorneEngland320
1915–18No tournament due to World War I
1914 George Fotheringham (5)Scotland299
1913Jimmy Prentice (a)Scotland304
1912George Fotheringham (4)Scotland305
1911 George Fotheringham (3)Scotland301
1910 George Fotheringham (2)Scotland315
1909 Jack FotheringhamScotland306
1908George FotheringhamScotland294
1907Laurie Waters (3)Scotland146
1906Arthur Gray (2)England151
1905Arthur GrayEnglandPO
1904Laurie Waters (2)Scotland143
1903Scotland Laurie WatersScotland163

Prior to 1908 the tournaments were 36 holes.

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