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7 Nov 2013
12:19 pm

Schwartznel heads SA challenge for NGC

Charl Schwartzel heads a trio of South Africans inside the world's top 50 who have been added to field for the Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) to be played at Gary Player Country Club, Sun City from December 5-8.

FILE PICTURE: Charl Schwartzel. Photo by Petri Oeschger / Sunshine Tour / Gallo Images.

Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, is currently ranked 21st in the official World Golf Rankings.

Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion who is ranked 30th, and 2013 Joburg Open champion Richard Sterne, in 48th spot on the rankings would line up alongside Schwartzel and NGC debutant Branden Grace.

Schwartzel finished second in last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge two strokes behind Germany’s Martin Kaymer after a strong final round charge.

Last month, he claimed a victory in the China Masters on the OneAsia Tour and had enjoyed several top-10s on the European Tour and PGA Tour this season.

Schwartzel finished no worse than tied 25th in three of the four majors, missing the cut in the PGA Championship, and was selected for Nick Price’s International Team in the Presidents Cup.

Oosthuizen would make his third appearance in the NGC after starting his year with a victory in the European Tour’s Volvo Golf Champions in Durban, climbing to a career-high fourth on the world rankings.

In July, he had to withdraw during his first round in the Open Championship with a combination of a neck, back and leg injury, forcing a lengthy recovery period, and making a return in September at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship. He also made his debut for the International Team in the Presidents Cup.

It would be Sterne’s second appearance in the US6.5-million (about R65-million) tournament after a year in which he too made his debut at the Presidents Cup, taking world number one Tiger Woods to the final hole of their singles match before losing by one hole.

In February, he won his sixth European Tour title with a seven-shot triumph in the Joburg Open. This year’s NGC had been restructured to consist of a 30-man field from the 12 in previous years.

NGC field confirmed to date (RSA unless stated): Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand), Branden Grace, Gary Woodland (US), Henrik Stenson (Sweden), Justin Rose (England), Kevin Streelman (US), Martin Kaymer (Germany), Peter Senior (Australia), Luke Donald (England), Sergio Garcia (Spain), Brendon de Jonge (Zimbabwe), DA Points (US), Richard Sterne, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel.

Sapa