NGC layout still a challenge

2011-11-29 10:25

Cape Town - Lee Westwood, amongst others, will hope that conditions remain dry and warm in North-West province when the Nedbank Golf Challenge kicks off this week.

Westwood, who is the defending champion, will seek to become the first Briton and sixth person to successfully hold onto the crown in the 31-year history of the tournament.

Conditions at the Gary Player Country Club course are said to be very favourable “but that doesn’t necessarily mean scores will be low,” tournament director, Alastair Roper said in Tuesday’s Cape Times.

“It all depends on how the course is set up, and if you stretch the course to the back tees and hide some of the pins, it’s still going to be a searching test. I reckon between 12-under- and 16-under-par should be a winning score,” continued Roper.

The tournament festivities kick off on Wednesday with the traditional Pro-Am event, followed by the official opening at the players' banquet in the evening, however, not all of the 12-man field has arrived in Sun City yet.

“Luke Donald, Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel and Kim Kyung-Tae aren’t here yet, but the rest are, and it’s all systems go,” said Roper.

Westwood won last year’s event as the new world number one, something of a rarity in recent years due to former World number one Tiger Woods’ domination combined with the NGC taking place at the same time as Woods’ host tournament, the Chevron World Challenge.

“I think it speaks volumes for the status of the Nedbank Golf Challenge that for the second year in succession, we have been able to secure the world’s number one golfer,” said Roper.

“In fact, Kaymer was world number one before Lee, so we have the last three number ones in our field, and that’s pretty special.