Sun City field is full of surprises

2012-10-20 16:41

This year’s edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, which tees off at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City from November 29 to December 2, will spring a few surprises.

Four exciting new debutants will be part of the 12-man international field.

They are South Africa’s Garth Mulroy, American Bill Haas, Nicholas Colsaerts from Belgium and Sweden’s Peter Hanson.

All these golfers have done well this year in different events, making their countries proud and warranting a place in “Africa’s major”.

Durban-born Mulroy, in particular, won the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in Mpumalanga before finishing ninth in the SA Open to win the Sunshine Tour’s Order of Merit and was called up for his dream Sun City participation.

Another factor that is bound to bring surprises is the gruelling challenge to end Englishman Lee Westwood’s two-year dominance of the
Sun City fairways.

Westwood lifted the crystal trophy with a staggering eight-shot victory in 2010, and then lifted it again last year by beating another quality
field by two strokes.

So it will be every player’s intention to dethrone him this time around.

Another drawcard for fans this year should be the presence of top South African players Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

Oosthuizen made his mark during this year’s Masters at Augusta National, Georgia, by hitting a four-iron from 253 yards, which pitched on the front of the green before rolling into the hole for an albatross.

His presence on the tees will swell the crowds, eager to watch his exploits at this year’s event.

Schwartzel, the winner of the last year’s Masters, has not done very well this year on the PGA and European tours, but will be looking to steal the thunder in front of home fans.

A rare surprise was the exclusion of homespun hero Ernie Els, the man fresh from winning the British Open.

When asked why Els decided to snub the tournament this year, Alastair Roper, the tournament’s director, said: “Ernie has decided not to honour the tournament because he will be spending time with his family in the US.”

To add spice to this year’s showdown will be the addition of Germany’s European Ryder Cup hero Martin Kaymer, who will be making his second trip to Sun City.

The world number four holed the winning putt for the Europeans to sink the US team at Medinah Country Club in Illinois three weeks ago.

With so many surprises in store this year, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will definitely be an enthralling spectacle for golf fans.

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