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Caldwell first up after 10 year Tour absence

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After a 10-year absence, Jonathan Caldwell has been thrown into the proverbial deep-end to be out in the first group on day one of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

It was just over a week ago that the Ulster golfer regained his full European Tour card for a first occasion since 2009 by being among the leading 25 graduates at the Q-School in Spain.

With the postponement of the Hong Kong Open to likely mid next year, Tour officials opened the Alfred Dunhill door to Caldwell who finished 19th after six rounds in Spain.

The 35-year old Clandeboye golfer didn’t need to be asked twice in jetting off to Malelane and this week’s host Leopard Creek course.

And in arriving at the club as a full-time member of the European Tour having last held status on the Main Tour in 2009, Caldwell posted a Tweet with a photo of the first tee saying:

“Looking forward to getting my 2020 @EuropeanTour season started tomorrow. Many thanks to those who helped along the way @WirefoxGroup @WoodgateAir.”

Joining Caldwell is fellow Ulsterman Cormac Sharvin who secured his place on the Tour in being among the leading graduates off the secondary Challenge Tour.

Heading the South African field is four-time Major winning Ernie Els, who next fortnight will lead the International Presidents Cup team into competition against a red-hot Tiger Woods USA Team, with Woods a competing captain.

IRISH TEE TIMES – Irish time

4.20am Jonathan Caldwell

5.50am Cormac Sharvin

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