Iconic Gary Player Country Club to host new Nedbank Junior Challenge

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Gary Player Country Club in Sun City (Supplied)
Gary Player Country Club in Sun City (Supplied)
  • South Africa's top amateurs will get an opportunity to compete in the inaugural Nedbank Junior Challenge at the famed Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
  • The Nedbank Junior Challenge winner will also receive a behind-the-scenes experience of the next Nedbank Golf Challenge event.
  • Tournament Director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge Ken Payet added that it's too early to make a call on whether the European Tour event will take place this year.

South Africa's top junior golfers will walk in the footsteps of golfing greats when they contend at the famed Gary Player Country Club for the Nedbank Junior Challenge from 3-5 May.

The Nedbank Junior Challenge will see a 78-man field compete in a 54-hole competition at the iconic venue in Sun City, which is home to the 'Africa's Major' the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The winner will be invited to attend the next Nedbank Golf Challenge as a VIP spectator for an inside-the-ropes experience. He will have exclusive access to walk the golf course during the official Wednesday Pro-Am at the European Tour event.

Tournament Director of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, Ken Payet told media on Wednesday that they wanted to make the event a "worthwhile" and "priceless" experience for the amateur golfer.

"He won't play but will experience the Nedbank Golf Challenge, there's a lot of things that we do in the tournament that not everyone is part of. There is an opportunity with getting a practice round with a player before the event but it's still up for discussion," said Payet.

"We want to make this a worthwhile experience ... Watching a guy like Tommy Fleetwood on the range or getting to know his practise regime and that stuff.

"From a junior perspective, that experience will be priceless and it's something that can hopefully springboard their careers and maybe in a few years time, it helps and makes it easier to transition to pro."

The tournament will be offering both GolfRSA and World Amateur Golf Ranking points and the winner will also receive a replica of the famous Nedbank Golf Challenge trophy.

The field will be drawn from the Top 50 on the GolfRSA National Under-19 rankings, the Top 5 South African Golf Development Board (SAGDB) elite squad members and 14 leading development players worldwide.

"We are delighted to be able to partner with GolfRSA and Sun International in hosting what is a major tournament on the national amateur calendar and which will truly showcase the depth in junior golf talent we have in South Africa," said Tobie Badenhorst, Head: Group Sponsorships and Cause Marketing, Nedbank.

"We're particularly excited about being able to include the South African Golf Development Board in this tournament as we seek to keep supporting the development of golf throughout the country." 

Additional spots will be filled from an open entry process with GolfRSA CEO Grant Hepburn confirming that they are "well oversubscribed" received 87 players entries.

"We are very excited about. We've already received 87 players that have put their name down... We'll have the cream of the crop playing there and it's already going to become a major tournament in terms of our amateur ranking points," said Hepburn.

Payet also added that they are planning on potentially setting up a girls Junior Challenge in Sun City.

"We haven't forgotten about the girls, we are currently having discussions with Grant and his team but the schedule just couldn't allow us to have it this year. But going forward we want the girls to be here next year and in a separate event but we need to coordinate."

The Nedbank Junior Challenge is the first leg of the Nedbank Golf Challenge Amateur Series, with three tournaments between May to October at Sun City and the Wild Coast Sun.

Payet also provided some details into this year's Nedbank Golf Challenge, which is proposed to get under way from 11-14 November.

"We've had discussions with Nedbank and European Tour but it's too early to make a call on what's happening," Payet told reporters.

"It all depends on regulations and we got a bit of time now and by June or July we'll make a call on that. At the moment, there's too many moving parts and it could change at any moment. We've got to be cautious and responsible."

The 2020 Nedbank Golf Challenge was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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