‘I am going there to win’
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artin Kaymer will target a second victory at the Gary Playerhosted Nedbank Golf Challenge when he returns to Sun City for the penultimate tournament of the European Tour’s Final Series, which starts on Thursday.
The former world number one claimed his only victory of the 2012 season at what is dubbed “Africa’s Major” after memorably holing the winning putt at the Ryder Cup in Medinah earlier that year.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge joined the European Tour schedule in 2014 and, for the first time this week, it will be the final event before the Race to Dubai’s finale, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.
The event will welcome 72 of the world’s best players to contest a $7 million (R94.9 million) prize fund as the battle to be crowned the European Tour’s number one player reaches its climax.
The German and fellow major winner Pádraig Harrington have been confirmed as the latest global stars to join the star-studded field.
“I’m really looking forward to returning to the Nedbank Golf Challenge,” said Kaymer, who could move into the top 10 of the Race to Dubai with a strong result in South Africa, and be in the running for the $5 million bonus pool.
“Of course, I have some great memories of this tournament, and it’s always nice to go back to an event that you have won in the past. This has always been a huge event, but I’m sure it will have even more of a big tournament feel next week as part of the Final Series.
“The course is always in perfect condition and Sun City is such a fun place. It’s always a week the players really enjoy. I am going there to win and I feel like my game is in good shape now to go and do that.”
Harrington, meanwhile, is flying high after his first European Tour victory in eight years at the Portugal Masters.
And he is relishing the opportunity to return to Sun City, where he will join a raft of fellow major winners, including South Africa’s Retief Goosen.
“Sun City will be my 400th event on the European Tour, and I’m sure it will be an enjoyable week,” said the Irishman.
“Hopefully, I can push on and make a charge up the Race to Dubai rankings. I wasn’t surprised by my victory in Portugal as I felt good things were coming my way.
“In my head I was ready to win, and to have a winning season is a big positive for me.”
Among those already announced for the Nedbank Golf Challenge are Open Champion winner Henrik Stenson and his European team-mates from the 2016 Ryder Cup, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Thomas Pieters, Andy Sullivan, Danny Willett and Chris Wood.
The South African challenge is also a strong one, and includes Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, George Coetzee, Branden Grace, and the country’s Olympic duo of Jaco van Zyl and Brandon Stone.
Vlismas – Michael
THE RETURN Martin Kaymer of Germany will be back in South Africa next week to make a bid for his second Nedbank Golf Challenge title