Mbombela hosted the 72-hole Mpumalanga Open on the first weekend of September, and Gauteng visitors welcomed playing a greener course again. Altin van der Merwe, SA’s No 1 ranked amateur, won in a playoff over Fabrizio de Abreu after they had tied on 11-under 273. De Abreu had an eight-under 63 in the final round with nine birdies, 31 the back nine. Just 10 players under par in a field of 128, so the course defended itself well. Accuracy in avoiding the big trees is still a key factor. Some forward tees were used, and players were encouraged to drive the greens at 10, 11 and 16. There were five eagle 2s at these par 4s, and an ace at 17 by Simon du Plooy.