Rory hunts elu­sive african vic­tory

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - The Golf Life Nedbank Golf Challenge -

▶ Rory McIl­roy’s re­turn to South Africa will be wel­comed by fans when he tees up as the ma­jor draw­card in the Ned­bank Golf Chal­lenge hosted by Gary Player.

McIl­roy’s rare pres­ence in the 2017 SA Open at Glen­dower at­tracted thou­sands of fans, and Sun City should be no dif­fer­ent. McIl­roy lost in a mem­o­rable play­off to Graeme Storm on that oc­ca­sion, and the Ir­ish­man is still seek­ing his first vic­tory in Africa, hav­ing won on all other con­ti­nents. The 38th Ned­bank Chal­lenge is the penul­ti­mate tour­na­ment on the Race to Dubai, and again fea­tures a 72-man field and prize fund of $7.5 mil­lion.

McIl­roy, sur­pris­ingly, has only once be­fore com­peted in the NGC, in 2009 as a 20-year-old. He never fin­ished, with­draw­ing af­ter 36 holes with a stom­ach virus af­ter rounds of 73 and 76. Vic­to­ries have dried up for him on the Euro­pean Tour – his last was the 2016 Irish Open – and he will be keen to fin­ish the year with a flour­ish at Sun City and Dubai. “I’ve won the Race to Dubai three times and want to give my­self ev­ery chance of win­ning it for the fourth time, so the Ned­bank is a huge week on my sched­ule,” he said.

For­mer NGC cham­pion Ser­gio Gar­cia has also con­firmed his place, hav­ing last played in 2013 when he en­joyed a thrilling last-round duel with Thomas Bjorn. Both Bjorn and Gar­cia shot 65, with Bjorn win­ning by two shots. De­fend­ing cham­pion Branden Grace has had a quiet year with three top 10s on the PGA and Euro­pean Tours, the last of those in May. He has fallen to No 46 on the World Rank­ing and will be hop­ing that mem­o­ries of his vic­tory last year will rekin­dle some good form.

sun city will rock

▶ Sun City has an­nounced ParTee on the Green as their en­ter­tain­ment line-up for fans. It be­gins at 8am on the Mon­day and con­tin­ues through al­most ev­ery cor­ner of the re­sort un­til mid­night on the Sun­day of the fi­nal round. Whether it’s a marimba band at the Cas­cades Ho­tel, drum­ming in The Palace of the Lost City, live mu­sic in the Su­per­bowl or the ma­jor restau­rants and bars, DJs at the Beach Party, or cover bands rock­ing the hos­pi­tal­ity vil­lage, the party won’t stop when the last putt drops each day. The hos­pi­tal­ity vil­lage will be where most of the en­ter­tain­ment is fo­cused. “We are cre­at­ing a fes­ti­val of live mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment that will turn Sun City into the place to be, whether you are there for the golf or not,” said Rob Collins, Sun In­ter­na­tional Group Chief Strat­egy and Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer.

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