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Vodacom give South African sponsorship boost

South African professional golf has received another major boost with the announcement that leading cellular network provider Vodacom will sponsor the R2-million Vodacom Tour Championship on the summer leg of the Sunshine Tour next month.

The Vodacom Tour Championship, one of the premier events on the local golf calendar, will be played on the par-72 Woodmead Course of the Johannesburg Country Club from February 24 to 27.

The tournament, which traditionally wraps up the summer leg of the tour and which was won by Andrew McLardy at Leopard Creek last year, will feature the leading 70 players on the Sunshine Tour's 2004/05 order of merit, to be determined after the Telkom PGA Championship the week before.

Vodacom has committed to the event in a three-year deal, continuing the company's already extensive involvement with golf in South Africa at professional and amateur level.

In 2004, Vodacom also launched the six-tournament Vodacom Origins of Golf Tour, aimed at celebrating the origins of the game and significantly boosting the winter leg of the Sunshine Tour.

"As a Proudly South African company, Vodacom's sponsorship of the Vodacom Tour Championship is another way in which we are providing our professional golfers with more playing opportunities in order for them to hone their skills for the international stage," said Mthobi Tyamzashe, chief communications officer of the Vodacom group.

Johan Immelman, commissioner of the Sunshine Tour, praised Vodacom's continued support of professional golf in South Africa.

"We are incredibly privileged for a company such as Vodacom, which we regard as one of our founder sponsors of the Sunshine Tour, to step up and take this opportunity to sponsor our tour championship.

"The Vodacom Tour Championship holds a lot of significance for our tour because, as the final event of our season, it helps to establish the bulk of our membership for the next year in terms of the leading 120 players on the order of merit and the top 50 who will be exempt for the following season.

"The winner of the Vodacom Tour Championship also qualifies for an invitation to play in the World Golf Championship NEC Invitational, an initiative of the International Federation of Golf Tours, of which South Africa is one of the five original members."

The Woodmead course, the older of the Johannesburg Country Club 's two courses, is a quality layout that first opened for play in 1968. It is ranked 34th in the country.


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