• Firm, fast test for NGC field

    Gary Player Country Club to host NGC 2018
    Fast greens are the order of the day

    The field for this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player can expect a Gary Player Country Club course that will play fast and offer opportunities for some low scoring.

    Tournament director Ken Payet said ahead of Thursday’s first round that he is very happy with the condition of the course as it welcomes the European Tour’s finest for this Rolex Series tournament.

    ‘As we stand now I’m happy with where we are in terms of our course preparation. Now it’s all about attention to detail as we seek to get the small consistencies right. But overall we’re looking good,’  said Payet.

    Although the rainfall hasn’t been at the levels Payet and his team would have liked, he still believes the golf course will offer a strong enough challenge for the field.

    ‘We do everything we can throughout the year and then rely on Mother Nature to do her part. Sometimes she does, and sometimes it falls a little short in terms of the rain we wanted. The rough is not as severe as in past years, but fortunately this golf course doesn’t rely on rough as its only defence.

    ‘We also have its length and the ability to tuck the pins in the corners of these greens. And then green speed is also something we can focus on. But it will be a nice fast-playing golf course, which is how the professionals like it.’

    One of the most significant changes to the course set-up this year is the new tee box on the par-four 18th.

    ‘It’s about 25 metres further back from the original tee box. It’s something Gary Player has wanted to do for quite some time now, and we’ll have this new tee box in play for all four days of the tournament, which should add quite a different dimension to the way the 18th plays,’ says Payet.

    The tournament tees off on Thursday with a field headlined by Rory McIlroy, defending champion Branden Grace, and former Nedbank Golf Challenge champions Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn.

    The Gary Player Country Club will open at 7am daily. The ticket cost for adults on the practice rounds of Tuesday, 6 November and Wednesday, 7 November is R100 excluding a programme and free entry for children under the age of 17.

    On Thursday, 8 November and Friday, 9 November the cost for tickets will be R200 for adults excluding a programme, R90 for children between the ages of 12 and 17, while children under the age of 12 gain free entry.

    And on Saturday, 10 November and Sunday, 11 November, adults will pay R220 for a ticket and excluding a programme, with children 12-17 years paying R100 and children under the age of 12 gaining free entry.

    Tickets for the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player can be purchased at http://www.nedbankgolfchallenge.com/spectators/tickets/

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