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Coetzee hunting Joburg gold

Last updated: 6th February 2013

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George Coetzee: Joburg contender

George Coetzee: Joburg contender

South Africa's George Coetzee will go into the Joburg Open hoping that the tournament will be a springboard to better things for him, just like it was for Charl Schwartzel and, more recently, Branden Grace.

The 26-year-old Coetzee nearly claimed his maiden European Tour title recently when he finished in second place in the Qatar Masters, ending one shot behind eventual winner Chris Wood.

"I just want to keep playing well. I've been working on a few things and have been improving week after week. It just kind of hasn't been my week yet. But it's always nice to play in an event at home, and it would be awesome to win in front of my friends and family," Coetzee told the European Tour's official website.

Coetzee knows that this weekend's Joburg Open has the capability of defining an up-and-coming golfer's career and he will hope to do better than the 14th and seventh place finishes he recorded on his last two visits to the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Schwartzel won the event 2010 and was moved up to a then career-high ranking of 35th in the world. A year later he won his first major event - The Masters - and finished ninth at the US Open, 12th at the PGA Championship as well as adding another Joburg Open crown to his name.

A year later, Grace - fresh out of Qualifying school - launched his career with a win at Kensington and followed it by winning four more times during the year.

"He's going to win sooner or later," Henrik Stenson noted after he beat Coetzee into second place at the SA Open Championship last year.

And with the next generation of South African players making their mark worldwide, Coetzee might well believe that his time has come.



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