Nedbank Golf Challenge

Early Christmas for McIlroy?

2009-12-02 22:37
Rory McIlroy (AFP)
Marizanne Kok

Sun City - Rory McIlroy wants to enjoy a good Christmas and New Year, and winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge would be the perfect way to end his year.

The 20-year-old Northern Irishman makes his debut at South Africa's biggest golf tournament on Thursday, after five weeks of competition where he came very close to a victory.

A win this week will be "enormous", says the youngster.

"It feels as if I went to bed disappointed every Sunday for the past month, even though I played well. It was especially painful for the last two tournaments, the Dubai World Championships and the World Cup of Golf tournament, where I finished second in both.

"I am dead tired and have played across the globe over the last couple of weeks, but a win will make up for it all.

"It will definitely make for a good Christmas and New Year," says McIlroy.

McIlroy, after his recent success - he was in the top 5 in all of his last five tournaments and finished second in the European Tour Order of Merit - is the runaway favourite.

His performance in yesterday's Pro-Am underlined that.

McIlroy travelled to South Africa with the flu and rested on Monday and Tuesday rather than studying the course.

Yet, even so, he shot a 69 in his first ever round on the difficult Gary Player course.

"I like the course, it is in excellent condition.

"The South African public have been very supportive and it is one of the reasons why I am so eager to return. There is something about this country that reminds me of home," he said.

McIlroy has long been a supporter of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, even though it is played thousands of kilometres away from his country of birth.

"I followed it on television for years and some of the exceptional moments will always stand out for me.

"It is a tournament which has delivered exceptional champions - a player such as American, Jim Furyk has won here twice, your own Ernie (Els) put up a huge score the one year to win the trophy - and last year, Henrik (Stenson) blew away the rest of the field.

"This has always been a tournament I wanted to play in.

"It will be a huge achievement to see my name appear on the trophy.

"It will be the perfect end to a very good year," said McIlroy.

Read more on:    nedbank golf challenge

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