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Earthmoving incentive drives Champions

THE world's best golfers are used to having cars on offer for a hole-in-one, but not a £93,000 truck or £32,000 excavator.

Both, though, are up for grabs at the Volvo Champions event which started at Durban Country Club today, one for an ace at the 273-yard par four 18th and the other at the 170-yard 15th.

The truck, a Volvo FH, is described in tournament publicity as "the world's strongest, pulling up to 750 horsepower.

"It is much more than a world-class truck. It is a complete, competitive business solution."

The excavator has already caught the eye of Louis Oosthuizen, who following his 2010 Open victory at St Andrews bought himself a tractor.

"I saw one of these on display at the Volvo Champions last year," the South African said.

"At the time I thought how useful one would be on my farm, so to have the chance of winning one is a fantastic incentive."

There is also a £24,500 car for a hole-in-one at the 156-yard 12th, where back in 1922 the then Prince of Wales had a nightmare trying to stop his ball on the small plateau green.

He eventually took 17 - and the hole has been named after him from that day.

Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Pádraig Harrington, Paul Lawrie, Paul Casey and Colin Montgomerie are part of the 33-strong winners-only field this week all trying to avoid a repeat of what happened 91 years ago.

It is limited to last year's European Tour champions, previous winners of the event and those with 10 or more Tour titles to their names.

Els and Retief Goosen lost a play-off to compatriot Branden Grace at Fancourt last January and are back hoping to go one better.