Johannesburg - Players competing at the Fiji International at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course will be intent on breaking defending champion Brandt Snedeker’s par record.
The tournament, co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour of Australasia and the European Tour, tees off on Thursday.
Snedeker achieved an impressive victory margin at the event’s third edition last year, by carding -16 for a total of 276, to beat Michael Hendry by nine strokes.
It is unclear whether Snedeker will defend his title this year. This week, he was reportedly recovering from a rib injury that led to him missing the PGA Championship, which ends today at Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina in the US.
Setting such a big under-par mark is a milestone for Snedeker. No other winner has come so far by way of scoring since the event was first staged at this venue in 2014.
Coming off the Ryder Cup victory in Minnesota in the US in October, Snedeker ran away with the windswept Fiji event in the final round.
Before that win, he lifted the Farmers Insurance Open in South Carolina in February last year.
But the players competing at the Natadola course are expected to go all out to register low scores in a bid to overtake his winning tally.
Past winners Matt Kuchar and Steven Jeffress will be hoping for victories by stretching their margins.
This year’s field will be more competitive, as it will boast three former US Masters champions – local hero Vijay Singh, who won in 2000, Ángel Cabrera, who was victorious in 2007; and 2009 champion Mike Weir.
Singh will be out to prove to fellow competitors that he can conquer his home course with ease – he redesigned the venue that will be unveiled for this year’s contest.
Players will also be competing against the unforgiving course. Three of the holes – three, 12 and 16 – are particularly punishing because of their narrowness and hazards.