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Ken Borland

Experience will matter a great deal at Sun City

Posted on January 09, 2015 by Ken

Defending champion Thomas Bjorn says that as middle age nears for golfers, so thoughts begin of when their careers will end, but if the last half-dozen years at Sun City have shown anything, it’s that experience matters a great deal when it comes to winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge that starts today.

In that time, Henrik Stenson, Robert Allenby, Lee Westwood and Bjorn himself have all triumphed at Gary Player Country Club and the Dane said the confidence and self-belief he gained from last year’s win was a massive boost for his career.

“It was certainly a big boost for me, it gave me the belief that I could make another Ryder Cup team, that on really tough courses I can still compete with the best, the game is still there.

“I have a good eye for the course and hopefully I can put up a strong defence, but somebody will kick-start the 2015 year in a great way here,” the 43-year-old Bjorn said yesterday.

The previous two winners of the title, Kaymer and Westwood, are both in the elite 30-man field that tees off this morning at 10.10am and the Englishman is certainly in a confident mood.

“I’ve been lucky enough to win it a couple of times and it’s a great title to win. I’ve been coming here since 1997 and it’s a championship I’ve always held in very high regard and wanted to win. Ernie Els beat me in a play-off in 2000, and my worst finish is sixth in the nine times I’ve played here, so I seem to have played well. I’ve shot some low scores, such as the 62 in 2011 when I won. I was 17-under-par in 2010 when I also won. And I think Ernie and I were tied at 20-under when we played off in 2000.

“So my scoring average is pretty good round here and I’ve been looking forward to this week for a while. Hopefully I can play as well as I did a few years ago,” Westwood said.

There’s no doubt 2012 winner Kaymer would like to add to his collection of titles which includes two major crowns and 11 European Tour wins, while South Africans Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and Tim Clark are desperate to win on home soil in what amounts to their home major.

Ryder Cup star Jamie Donaldson, who finished tied second last year, is amongst the other contenders to watch, along with former world number one Luke Donald and the in-form Brooks Koepka and Joost Luiten.



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