First-timer hopes to win golf challenge

Only four first-timers have ever won the Nedbank Golf Challenge at their first attempt and the last time that was achieved was in 1986 by Mark McNulty.

There are three newcomers in this year’s field—Argentinian Angel Cabrera, American Stewart Cink and Englishman Luke Donald—and it is the latter who believes he can break the mould this year.

“I don’t see why not,” said the 27-year-old shortly after scoring a two-under-par 70 in Wednesday’s pro-am.

“There’s no reason why I can’t do well here.
I like the way the course is set up. It suits my game,” said Donald. “Any consistent player with good control who can hit accurate iron shots can do well here.”

All the first-time winners came in the early years of the tournament. The initial event was won by Johnny Miller, and American Ray Floyd took it the next year. German Bernhard Langer won at his first attempt in 1985 and McNulty achieved the same feat a year later.

Donald is also delighted to be paired with South Africa’s Tim Clark on Thursday morning.

“Tim and I have become quite good friends. We both have very similar games, so we’re not exactly going to be out-driving each other by 40 yards. It’s a good draw for me.”

Cink, who at 40-1 is the biggest outsider in the field, said he does not expect to be given a hard time by South African fans.

“All over the world people obviously cheer for the hometown favourites, but they do appreciate good golf. I would think South Africans are no different.”

He added that with regard to Sun City itself, the reality is even better than anything he had ever been told about.

“I have come with my wife and kids and I have to say this place is unbelievable. I think you can stay here for a couple of months and not do the same thing twice.

“This is probably the best resort I have ever seen in my life.”

Cink is paired with Spain’s Sergio Garcia on Thursday, while Cabrera will play with Australian Adam Scott.—Sapa

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