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Picture: 123RF/DEKLOFENAK
Picture: 123RF/DEKLOFENAK

Tommy Fleetwood will return to the Nedbank Golf Challenge as “Africa’s Major” celebrates its milestone 40th anniversary from November 10-13.    

The European Ryder Cup star lifted the trophy in 2019 — the last time the event took place due to the Covid-19 pandemic — and he will defend his title when the $6m event makes a return to Sun City’s Gary Player Country Club. The penultimate tournament on the 2022 DP World Tour schedule will carry an increased number of DP World Tour Ranking Points, with 7,000 points available.

The Golf Challenge has been a highlight of the SA sporting calendar since its first edition in 1981, with former European No 1 Fleetwood joining a glittering list of winners when he sealed his fifth DP World Tour title after coming from six shots back going into the final day to triumph in a thrilling play-off against Swede Marcus Kinhult.

The English star joined a roll of honour that includes SA golfing icon Ernie Els — a three-time winner of the event alongside Lee Westwood, Nick Price and David Frost — the legendary Seve Ballesteros, and Major champions Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer and Danny Willett.

Two years earlier, during a stellar 2017 season, Fleetwood recorded a top 10 finish at Gary Player Country Club, which proved to be crucial as he went on to top what was then the Race to Dubai Rankings for the first time in his career.

Fleetwood said: “I’ve had some fantastic experiences at the Golf Challenge and I can’t wait to get back to Sun City. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to call myself the champion for longer than usual, but I’m certainly looking forward to starting my defence in November. It was a great feeling to come through the field on that final day to lift the trophy. Add that to the top 10 finish in 2017 which helped me on the way to becoming European No 1.”

The 2022 Golf Challenge will again be included on the DP World Tour schedule and as the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai. The winner of the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit will receive a place in the 64-player field.

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