4th September 2017 | Sunshine Tour
Past master Bjørn confirmed for Nedbank Challenge
By Michael Vlismas
Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjørn will return to a happy hunting ground in Gary Player Country Club, the scene of his last European Tour victory, after receiving an invite for the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.
The Dane will make a welcome return to South Africa, where four years ago he swept aside challenges from the likes of Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, and Justin Rose to claim the 15th European Tour title of his glittering career.
Bjørn, whose 2013 triumph in Sun City was his first on South African soil, will tee it up alongside some of the world’s finest players in the $7.5 million tournament, which takes place from November 9-12 and is part of the 2017 Rolex Series – a collection of eight premium events.
“I am delighted to be returning to the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City for the Nedbank Golf Challenge,” Bjørn said.
“It is a terrific event in a beautiful part of the world and I am very much looking forward to competing there once again.
“My victory in December 2013 was right up there with one of the best weeks of my career, although it was also a week tinged with sadness, not just for the people of South Africa, but for the entire world due to the passing of Nelson Mandela on the first day of the tournament.
“I was proud to win in the great man’s country that week and shooting 65 in the final round to beat a field of that quality was something to truly cherish. There is no doubt I will be returning with happy memories.”
Joining Bjørn in ‘Africa’s Major’ is Major Champion Louis Oosthuizen. The South African, who claimed his maiden Major title at The Open Championship at St Andrews in 2010, will aim to improve on his previous best finish of fourth place when he returns to Gary Player Country Club for a seventh time.
Also teeing it up in the lucrative tournament – which has a limited field of 72 and is the 46th of 47 events in the 2017 Race to Dubai – is rising star Brandon Stone.
The 24 year old, who hails from Pretoria, already has two European Tour titles to his name after triumphing at the 2016 BMW SA Open hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni and the 2017 Alfred Dunhill Championship, and is widely regarded as one of South Africa’s brightest young talents.
Tickets for the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player are on sale at www.ticketpros.co.za.
Adults will pay R100 for access on the practice and pro-am days on Tuesday 7 November and Wednesday 8 November, after which the cost will be R200 on Thursday 9 November and Friday 10 November, and R220 on Saturday 11 November and Sunday 12 November.
Children between the ages of 12 and 17 will gain free access on 7 and 8 November, after which they will pay R90 on 9 and 10 November, and R100 on 11 and 12 November. Children under 12 will gain free access for the duration of the event.
For further information, please go to www.nedbankgolfchallenge.com