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11th November 2022

Rain tops the leaderboard on day two of Nedbank Golf Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – Rain is a blessing in Africa, and “Africa’s Major” was certainly looking for a blessed celebration of its 40th anniversary. But the second round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge had to be suspended on Friday because of lightning and a waterlogged golf course.

Play was first suspended at 11:49 because of a thunderstorm, and it wasn’t able to resume as the Gary Player Country Club was soaked by consistent rain throughout the afternoon.

The second round will resume at 7:45am on Saturday, with the third round to follow after its completion.

New Zealander Ryan Fox and England’s Luke Donald are currently tied for the lead on eight under par through three holes of their second rounds. They are two strokes clear Ross Fisher, Rasmus Højgaard and Guido Migliozzi who also have yet to complete their second rounds. Richard Sterne is currently the leading South African on three under par through 11 holes.

David Williams, the Tournament Director for the DP World Tour, said they have every intention of completing four rounds but are clearly under pressure from the weather.

“We’ll restart at 7:45am everywhere on the golf course and they’ll finish their rounds and then go straight into the third round. In that way we’re probably going to save at least two hours, and with the forecast on Saturday not looking good we need to grab every means to get as much play complete.

“Hopefully if everything goes right we might get the third round done on Saturday. A lot of it is up in the air and we’ll have to see what the weather throws at us. If we get through the third round we’d certainly want to complete four rounds. The forecast is not good for the weekend so we’ll be watching it all closely and trying to make any plans we can to keep this tournament the great success that it always is.”

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5th November 2022

Coetzee chasing second PGA Championship title

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee says there is no magic recipe for winning golf, but the 13-time champion on the Sunshine Tour enjoyed more than a few ounces of inspiration on Saturday as a bogey-free 67 carried him back to the top of the leaderboard after the penultimate round of the PGA Championship at the St Francis Links.

Two birdies on the front nine and three coming in, two of them back-to-back on the 12th and 13th holes, lifted Coetzee to 11-under-par for the tournament and he is one stroke clear of Rhys West, who shot a 68.

Second-round leader Casey Jarvis posted a 71 on Saturday and is on nine-under-par, together with Stefan Wears-Taylor (67), Jake Redman (68) and Hennie Otto (69).

“It wasn’t really my plan to not get any bogeys, I just wanted to play good golf,” Coetzee said. “This course has some teeth and you have to pick those parts where you can be aggressive and where you can’t be aggressive.

“I think I balanced that out quite well, I made pars on the tough holes and birdies on some of the easier holes. Being experienced is more about what you do than what you know.

“But it does help that I am more conservative on a course that I don’t know that well, I kind of stick to how the course wants me to play.

“I think only Tiger Woods really knew how to win, the rest of us are all learning as we go along. I’ve won a few tournaments, but there’s no pattern to it, no magic recipe,” Coetzee said.

Overnight leader Jarvis had two eagles on the front nine, on the par-five third and then holing out with his second on the par-four fifth hole, but after a double-bogey six on the par-four 15th he surrendered the lead to Coetzee.

There are also four golfers on seven-under-par who will be chasing after glory in the final round on Sunday – last week’s winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final Combrinck Smit (66), Luke Jerling (67), Peter Karmis (67) and Martin Vorster (71).

But after all the titles he has won, including the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at De Zalze in August, the 36-year-old Coetzee has clear aims for the final round.

“I will just be trying to make good decisions, try to play decent golf and be excited about playing under pressure,” Coetzee said.

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19th October 2022

Fox, MacIntyre and Migliozzi set for Nedbank Golf Challenge

Recent DP World Tour winners Ryan Fox, Robert MacIntyre and Guido Migliozzi will add further star power to the international field gathering in Sun City for the 40th anniversary edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

New Zealander Fox is currently third in the DP World Tour Rankings in partnership with Rolex thanks to an impressive season that has included wins at the Ras al Khaimah Classic and Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at the Old Course, St Andrews, as well as six further top tens.

The three-time DP World Tour winner will tee it up at Gary Player Country Club for the fourth time from November 10 – 13, 2022, looking for a big finish to the season as he vies to become the first player from New Zealand to be named European Number One.

Fox said: “This is a tournament that I’ve always enjoyed going to, and it’s great to see it back on the schedule. It’s been a positive season for me so far, and I’m looking forward to the last few events, including a trip back to Sun City for the 40th anniversary event.”

MacIntyre will make his second appearance in ‘Africa’s Major’ in November, following a top ten finish in 2019.

The Scot started the qualification process for the 2023 Ryder Cup with a bang last month, winning the DS Automobiles Italian Open at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club – the venue where Europe will take on the United States next September.

The 26-year-old won his second DP World Tour title at the perfect time as he aims to fulfil his dream of a Ryder Cup debut in Rome.

MacIntyre said: “I had a great experience on my debut at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and I can’t believe that it was three years ago now. There’s a lot to play for over the last few events of the season in terms of the DP World Tour Rankings and Ryder Cup qualification, and I’m looking forward to another good week at Sun City.”

The Ryder Cup also featured in Migliozzi’s third DP World Tour win, with the Italian lifting the Open de France trophy at Le Golf National – scene of Europe’s 17.5 – 10.5 victory over the United States in 2018.

He made his debut in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the end of a 2019 season in which he won both the Belgian Knockout and Magical Kenya Open presented by Absa, and returns to a field that also includes European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald, as another impressive year draws to a close.

Migliozzi said: “I’ve only had the chance to play there once, but the Nedbank Golf Challenge is a great week on Tour and I’m glad to see it back on the schedule. It’s the second last event of the season with a lot of points on offer so we’ll be aiming for a big finish.”

The trio of stars join Donald in a field that also includes defending champion and two-time Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood, who lifted the trophy in 2019 – the last time the event took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and South African DP World Tour winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester and Thriston Lawrence.

The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit will also receive a place in the 64-player field at Gary Player Country Club.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been a highlight of the South African sporting calendar since the first edition in 1981, with an impressive list of former winners including the legendary Seve Ballesteros, South African golfing icon Ernie Els and Major Champions such as Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Trevor Immelman and Danny Willett.

The 2022 Nedbank Golf Challenge will once again be included on the DP World Tour schedule in partnership with Nedbank and Sun International, this season as the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. The US$6,000,000 event will also carry an increased number of DP World Tour Ranking Points, with 7,000 points available.

The last edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2019 delivered record attendance figures and sold-out hospitality. Ticketing information for the milestone 40th event will follow in due course.

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18th October 2022

Lawrence back to defend Joburg Open title

South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence has confirmed he will defend his Joburg Open title as this international Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament moves to its new home at Houghton Golf Club from November 24-27, 2022.

Lawrence returns to a tournament where he made Joburg Open and South African golf history last year by becoming the first winner in the new era of the DP World Tour.

The young South African professional has been a perfect example of the Joburg Open’s status as a tournament that opens international doors for its winners.

The victory provided the platform for Lawrence to take his career to the next level as his win also earned him an exemption into his first Major, the historic 150thplaying of The Open Championship in St Andrews this year where he finished tied 42nd. Lawrence also added a second DP World Tour title when he won the Omega European Masters in August this year.

“The Joburg Open is very special to me because it opened so many doors for my career,” said Lawrence.

“It was my first DP World Tour title. It also earned me a place in my first Major, which was a lifelong dream come true for me. To play your first ever Major on the Old Course in St Andrews is an unbelievable dream come true. And then I was able to build on that Joburg Open win and claim my second DP World Tour title this year and secure my place on the Tour,” he explained.

“It changed everything for me. It was the first stepping stone to get to my bigger dreams. From a young age I’ve always wanted to win on the DP World Tour, so I’m extremely grateful for what the Joburg Open has meant to my career and I’m delighted to be able to come back and support the event as the defending champion, “he concluded.

The Joburg Open will once again tee off the DP World Tour’s new season in this world-class African city, and with Houghton Golf Club joining an array of Johannesburg’s finest golf courses to have hosted this tournament.

“We cannot wait to welcome the eyes of the golf world on the City of Johannesburg and we are extremely proud to be the host for the start of the DP World Tour’s new season. The Joburg Open is a perfect representation of the world-class spirit of Johannesburg and its people, and we are excited to once again host some of the finest golfers in the world,” said Executive Mayor, Cllr. Dada Morero.

Tickets for the Joburg Open are available at https://sunshinetour.com/ with the prices ranging from R100 for the Thursday and Friday and R200 for the Saturday and Sunday, or daily access for all four days at R300. There is 50% early bird discount on ticket prices if purchased before the end of October.

“We have a compelling value offering for golf fans at this year’s Joburg Open as we bring together a new host course in Houghton Golf Club and a world-class field of Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour professionals. We are grateful for all the support the City of Johannesburg provides as we take this incredible city and this amazing tournament to worldwide audience,” said Thomas Abt, Commissioner of the Sunshine Tour.

Photo: The Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Cllr. Dada Morero, and Sunshine Tour Commissioner Thomas Abt announcing the new home of the Joburg Open at Houghton Golf Club.

 

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17th October 2022

Mont Choisy Le Golf set to impress as host of 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open

The spectacular Mont Choisy Le Golf will make its international tournament debut on the DP World Tour and Sunshine Tour schedules when it hosts the 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open for the first time during 15-18 December, and golf course designer Peter Matkovich is excited about a course he says will present a fair and exciting challenge for the world’s professionals.

“I think our team did an incredible job in creating a golf course that we love, and which the members and owners are also very happy with. It looks very natural and we’ve used the black volcanic rock that is a feature in the north of the island to create this beautiful contrast with the green grass,” Matkovich said of the only 18-hole championship course in the northern region of Mauritius.

Matkovich’s love for this golf course began almost 16 years ago when he first walked the magnificent Allée des Flamboyants walkway which leads to the Mont Choisy Golf and Beach Estate and envisioned a golf course there.

“It was a special place for me in Mauritius. It was a challenge designing and building the golf course to get the right balance with the volcanic rock, and to also conserve the topsoil and water of the area which is very scarce. The shaping team did an incredible job, and the landscaping team has also ensured that the golf course blends superbly with its environment. My philosophy is to bring golf back into golf course design and we achieved that here with a golf course that places as much emphasis on strategy as it does on the experience.”

Jyoti Jeetun, the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Mont Choisy Group, believes Mont Choisy Le Golf will make a tremendous impact as the home of the 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

“Peter and his team at Peter Matkovich Design have done a wonderful job in creating a course that is a visual splendour as well as a delight to play, for both our members and the professionals. Set between the iconic town of Grand Baie and Mon Choisy Beach, it is going to be a privilege for us to showcase this magnificent course to an international audience and the way it complements the ‘Once in a Lifestyle’ proposition the beautiful Mont Choisy Golf and Beach Estate has to offer.”

As a challenge for the professionals, Matkovich and his team have created a golf course that is not overly long at 6 447 metres and with a blend of tough holes offset by some exciting driveable par fours.

“I think in December at the time of the tournament the golf course should play hard and fast, which is what we’d like. I do believe we’ll see good scores from the professionals.”

The 2022 AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open returns to the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour schedules for the first time since 2019 following the Covid-19 pandemic and has drawn a glittering array of blue-chip sponsors including Beachcomber Resorts & Hotels, Mont Choisy Group, Jaguar, Rogers, Heritage Resorts, IBL, the Mauritius Tourism Promotion Authority (MTPA), 3G Mobile, Phoenix Beverages, Air Mauritius, Mautourco, Fenix Apparel and Hertz.

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15th October 2022

Ferreira breaks through in Blue Label Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – Stephen Ferreira claimed his maiden victory on the Sunshine Tour when he won the Blue Label Challenge by a single point at the Gary Player Country Club on Saturday.

Ferreira finished on a total of 38 points under the modified Stableford scoring system used for the tournament, just one clear of Luca Filippi who pushed him all the way to the final hole.

It was Ferreira’s first victory on the Sunshine Tour since he turned professional in 2011, and after a second-place finish in the SunBet Challenge at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club recently, there were signs that he was on the brink of a breakthrough.

“I’m still a bit speechless,” said an emotional Ferreira who struggled to speak during the prizegiving ceremony.

“I’m glad to finally get the win. I love the Gary Player Country Club course. I come here a lot and have finally managed to tame the beast.”

Ferreira’s victory comes at a timely point in the Sunshine Tour season as it moves towards the big summer tournaments.

“It’s huge,” he said of this first win and its significance.

“I’ve been on the Sunshine Tour for a while and have come close a few times. You know, you doubt yourself, but I finally got the win and I’m ecstatic. Luca (Filippi) fought hard today and there were a lot of players close to me going into the final round. I knew I had to go low and make a lot of birdies, which I did. Luca pushed me over the last hole. It was nice to hole that big putt for the victory.”

Pieter Moolman, who was another maiden winner on the Sunshine Tour recently, finished third on 36 points.

 

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14th October 2022

Ferreira still the man to beat at Blue Label Challenge

SUN CITY, North West – Stephen Ferreira held on to the top spot on the leaderboard after the third round of the Blue Label Challenge at Gary Player Country Club on Friday, once again not paying for a couple of late bogeys.

Ferreira, who began the penultimate day leading by two points in the modified Stableford event, produced another solid round of golf with a pair of birdies on each nine, taking him to eight points for the day, but then he dropped shots, and points, with bogeys on the last two holes. That left the Zimbabwe resident who plays under the Portuguese flag with six points for his round, taking him to a total of 30 points, still renting out that two-point lead.

Last week’s winner of the Fortress Invitational at Ebotse Links, Pieter Moolman, enjoyed a fantastic day with five birdies and an eagle on the par-five fifth giving him 13 points and vaulting him into second place on 28.

Jaco Prinsloo, who is second on the Luno Order of Merit, had an even better day with five birdies and an eagle, and no dropped shots, giving him 15 points for a total of 26 heading into the final round. Jbe’ Kruger, second overnight, had a tough front nine, scoring minus-three, but bounced back after the turn with three birdies to finish with 24 points in total.

The 30-year-old Ferreira hails from Borrowdale Brook Golf Club in Harare and has 10 top-10 finishes from 136 Sunshine Tour events. With more than R1.6 million in prizemoney from those performances, Ferreira will nearing the R2 million mark if he can hold off what are bound to be stiff challenges from Moolman, Prinsloo and Kruger, and perhaps even youngsters Jayden Schaper and Luca Filippi, who are both on 23 points.

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13th October 2022

Ferreira leads Blue Label Challenge with aggressive but smart shots

SUN CITY, North West – Finishing with two bogeys in the last three holes normally goes against the grain for golfers, but the nature of the modified Stableford scoring system means it was worth the risk for Stephen Ferreira and did not cost him the lead at the end of the second round of the Blue Label Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club on Thursday.

Ferreira still posted an excellent 13 points on Thursday, via a five-under-par 67, and he is two points clear of Jbe’ Kruger.

Up until his dropped shots on the par-three 16th and the par-five 18th, the 30-year-old Zimbabwe resident, who plays under the Portuguese flag, was unstoppable with five birdies and an eagle-three, worth five points, on the fifth hole.

“I’m very happy, I felt good today and played really solid golf and sank a few putts,” Ferreira said. “I was aggressive and smart.”

“My first bogey was because I took the wrong club on the par-three and was in the wrong place in the bunker and couldn’t get up-and-down. On the last hole, I had 230 to the flag and had a go because a bogey is only minus-one. It was a risky shot and I didn’t quite pull it off, but in this format, every now and then you have to take a risk.

“But on five I hit a good tee-shot in the middle of the fairway, had 237 to the flag and knew exactly which club to use, a nice floating five-wood to 10 feet and then I made the putt,” Ferreira said.

The runner-up three weeks ago in the SunBet Challenge Wild Coast event said he was grateful for Zambian golfer Madalitso Muthiya bailing him out of a putting problem he had.

“I’ve felt I’ve been playing really good golf but I just haven’t been getting a score, and that’s down to not making putts. We’re all good golfers out here, we all hit the ball well, all hit good irons, so putting is what makes the difference,” Ferreira said.

“My friend Madalitso helped me tweak something small with my putting and now I’m putting nicely.”

Kruger also notched 13 points, via seven birdies, on Thursday, only once landing in trouble when he bogeyed the par-four fourth hole.

First-round leader Brooklin Bailey dropped out of the leadership race as he scored minus-nine on Thursday, with three double-bogeys and just two birdies on his card.

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European Ryder Cup Captain returns to Nedbank Golf Challenge

European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald has confirmed his participation in the milestone 40th anniversary edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

The former World Number One will tee it up in ‘Africa’s Major’ from November 10 – 13, 2022, returning to Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club for the first time since December 2014.

Donald has appeared in the Nedbank Golf Challenge twice since it was included in the DP World Tour schedule in 2013, when the event opened the 2014 season, finishing 19th and following that up with a third place finish 12 months later.

The seven-time DP World Tour winner was named Ryder Cup Captain as Europe bid to win the trophy back from Zach Johnson’s United States side in Rome next September.

He joins a field that includes the defending champion and two-time Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood, who lifted the trophy in 2019 – the last time the event took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic – and South African DP World Tour winners Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester and Thriston Lawrence.

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been a highlight of the South African sporting calendar since its first edition in 1981, with an impressive list of former winners that includes the legendary Seve Ballesteros, South African golfing icon Ernie Els and Major Champions such as Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Trevor Immelman and Danny Willett.

Donald said: “I’m delighted to be able to play the Nedbank Golf Challenge in this landmark year for the event. It’s such a unique tournament and I have fond memories of my past visits to Sun City.

“It certainly doesn’t seem like eight years since I last teed it up there, and I’m very much looking forward to returning, both as a player and in my capacity as Ryder Cup captain, as the season draws to a close.”

The 2022 Nedbank Golf Challenge will once again be included on the DP World Tour schedule in partnership with Nedbank and Sun International, this season as the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. The $6,000,000 will also carry an increased number of DP World Tour Ranking Points, with 7,000 points available.

The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit will also receive a place in the 64-player field at Gary Player Country Club.

The last edition of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 2019 delivered record attendance figures and sold-out hospitality. Ticketing information for the milestone 40th event will follow in due course.

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12th October 2022

Bogey-free Bailey leads Blue Label Challenge

SUN CITY, North-West – Like a smooth-running car, American Brooklin Bailey felt that all the different parts of his game were in sync on Thursday as he raced into the lead after the first round of the Blue Label Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club.

Bailey, who began his round on the 10th hole, collected five birdies and an eagle for a bogey-free 65, that translated into 15 points in the modified Stableford scoring system. He was four points ahead of Portugal’s Stephen Ferreira, who had six birdies and a bogey, while the leading players under the South African flag were Ockie Strydom and Jaco van Zyl in third place on 10 points.

“It was nice, hot weather so the body got loose early and I felt super-comfortable after making a great start with birdies on my second and fourth holes,” Bailey said. “I played really well, it just felt fluent in terms of what my swing, my body and the ball were doing.”

Coming from Texas, a typically hot October day in the Pilanesberg, with the temperature reaching 36°, was no bother for the 28-year-old Bailey, who has played the famous Gary Player Country Club layout a couple of times before and embraces the challenge rather than being daunted by it.

“I haven’t gone on very well here before, although I feel like I played good golf but did not get much out of it,” Bailey said. “But it’s a venue I really like, a real test of golf, it tests every facet of your game.

“A lot of credit must go to my caddy George, who made a lot of great decisions and kept me patient. It was a great decision to lay up on 18 and make birdie, and then I holed out from the bunker on the first hole for eagle. Then I hit it to a foot on the next hole for another birdie,” a delighted Bailey said.

Picking up nine points around the turn really knocked the other contenders out of the first-round race, and Bailey is now focused on backing up Thursday’s marvellous score with another low one in Friday’s second round.

“My game has been there this season, just not necessarily full-time,” Bailey admitted. “You’re not going to win or finish top-10 every week, but making cuts is important and in my last seven events I’ve had three top-10s and missed four cuts.

“So I’m really focusing on my consistency. I’m playing well when I’m on form, but there are little parts of my game that need improving, especially in putting and finding the fairways, those are certainly the two key areas.

“I felt like I’ve found my Driver, and after having a putting lesson this week and working on it for three hours one morning, I was really feeling comfortable on the greens as well,” Bailey said.

ROUND 1 SCORES

15 – Brooklin Bailey

11 – Stephen Ferreira

10 – Ockie Strydom, Jaco Van Zyl

9 – MJ Viljoen, Ryan Van Velzen, Jbe’ Kruger

8 – Stefan Wears-Taylor, Louis Albertse

7 – Doug McGuigan, Jayden Schaper, Luca Filippi, Wynand Dingle, Joe Long

6 – Christiaan Basson, Jaco Prinsloo, Peter Karmis, Pieter Moolman, JJ Senekal, Lyle Rowe, Steve Surry

5 – Jared Harvey, Rhys West, Anthony Michael

4 – Matthew Spacey, Christiaan Burke, Rourke van der Spuy, Combrinck Smit, Keith Horne, Keenan Davidse, Jean Hugo

3 – Neil Schietekat, Tristin Galant, Dan Erickson

2 – Michael Kok, Jaco Ahlers, Hayden Griffiths, Dylan Naidoo, Kyle McClatchie, Martin Rohwer, Martin Vorster

1 – Estiaan Conradie, Merrick Bremner, Herman Loubser, Jake Redman, Makhetha Mazibuko

0 – Madalitso Muthiya, Casey Jarvis, Richard Joubert, Hennie O’Kennedy, Dean O’Riley, Sean Bradley

-1 – Ryan Tipping, Luke Jerling, Erhard Lambrechts, Keagan Thomas, Malcolm Mitchell, Thabang Simon, Rupert Kaminski

-2 – Jean-Paul Strydom, Danie Van Niekerk, Adam Breen, Gerard du Plooy, Therion Nel

-3 – Dylan Mostert, Clinton Grobler, Hennie Otto, Jacques P de Villiers

-4 – Riekus Nortje

-5 – Albert Venter, Kyle Barker, Heinrich Bruiners, Jacques Blaauw

-6 – Ruan Conradie

-7 – Ruan Korb

-9 – Andre De Decker, Luke Brown, Bradley Bawden, Ricky Hendler

-12 – Dwayne Basson