Rahm in de­mand for Sun City chal­lenge

The Herald (South Africa) - - SPORT - Liam Del Carme

BIG-HIT­TING Jon Rahm could be one of the star at­trac­tions at next month’s Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge at Sun City.

Rahm‚ ranked third be­hind Tommy Fleet­wood and Ser­gio Gar­cia‚ is hop­ing to mount a strong fin­ish in the Race to Dubai and he may need an impressive show­ing at the Gary Player Coun­try Club (GPCC) if he hopes to reel in the pace-set­ting English­man.

He trails Fleet­wood by more than a mil­lion points but is hop­ing to claw back some of that in this week’s Ital­ian Open.

Rahm re­vealed af­ter tri­umph­ing in the Ir­ish Open that win­ning the Race to Dubai was a ma­jor pri­or­ity for him in his first full sea­son on the Euro­pean Tour.

The 22-year old said he was in­spired by the prospect of em­u­lat­ing his late com­pa­triot, Seve Balles­teros, who won at Sun City in 1983 and 1984.

Rahm will be a big drawcard if or­gan­is­ers can con­vince him to fly south. The rar­efied air and the sheer length (7 000m) of the course will only en­hance his impressive ball-strik­ing.

South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Bran­don Stone have al­ready con­firmed their par­tic­i­pa­tion‚ as has defending cham­pion Alex Noren.

Fel­low Swede and for­mer cham­pion Hen­rik Sten­son will also be in at­ten­dance.

This year the 2008 win­ner has not quite scaled the heights of last year when he won the Open.

The 11-time Euro­pean Tour win­ner‚ who topped the Race to Dubai rank­ings last year‚ is look­ing for­ward to the event.

“[It] is a tour­na­ment that I al­ways en­joy be­ing part of. The course is a fan­tas­tic place to play golf‚ and I’m look­ing for­ward to get­ting back to Sun City this year‚” Sten­son said.

“We al­ways get a bril­liant re­cep­tion from the South African fans‚ and I’m sure it will be an­other en­joy­able event.”

Or­gan­is­ers are hop­ing to get a clearer pic­ture of the stars likely to tee up at the GPCC.

This year’s event will be the sev­enth in the Rolex se­ries and penul­ti­mate tour­na­ment in the Race to Dubai.

Pic­ture: GETTY IM­AGES/RICHARD HEATHCOTE

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