The long road back to full European Tour membership continues for Brett Rumford this week when he is the lone Australian to fly the flag at the South African Open.

A difficult second half of 2016 saw the West Australian lose his full playing status for just the third time in 16 years and he is now working hard to get it back.

Solid performances at both the Hong Kong Open and Australian PGA have the 38-year-old in 12th position on the early Race to Dubai standings but with playing opportunities more difficult to come by as the year progresses, it is critical Rumford make the most of each week.

While Rumford has been a frequent visitor to South Africa over the years this week marks only his second appearance at the nation’s Open after also teeing up in 2004.

He finished T9 that week though on a different course to the City of Ekurhuleni Golf Club layout that will host this week.

Rumford will be highly motivated to perform well in a field that includes World Number 2 Rory McIlroy and if he can gain some momentum this week will be a genuine threat in the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 event in his home town in four weeks’ time.