Golf: Yank’s eye on the name tags in Sun City


With South African Hennie du Plessis’ attempt at glory having perished in Sun City’s scorching heat, the table is set for the Yank Max Homa to walk away with the laurels in the glamorous Nedbank Challenge Golf Tournament.

The 32-year-old Homa has been admiring the name tags of all the Sonstad champions for a week since the Pilanesberg spectacle was presented for the first time in 1981.

The relevant name tags that caught Homa’s eye and served as an incentive for the Yank to write the coveted Nedbank title after his name, decorate the footpath that leads to the ninth green to the left of the water.

“I’ve been looking at all the names of the previous winners all week and it would be amazing to be able to add my name to the list and be part of the history of the tournament,” Homa said after winning Saturday’s third round. finished in 69 shots – three shots short of par.

The Yank, who occupies the eighth position in the world rankings, sets the pace on a total of 203 (-13) with just eighteen holes to go.

Frenchman Matthieu Pavon is just one shot behind Homa on 204 after carding a 70 on the penultimate day.

Pavon, in turn, is one shot ahead of the two Danes Nicolai Hojgaard and Thorbjorn Olesen who both played 69 shots for a total of 205.

The Englishman Dan Bradbury occupies the fifth position on 206 (-10) after a score of 71 in the penultimate round.

Du Plessis made the SA flag fly high on the first two days with solid play that placed him among the leaders.

However, he farmed backwards on Saturday with a score of 74 (+2) and at 211 (-5) is too far behind Homa and the handful of players closest to him to still dream of a victory.

Du Plessis started on Saturday with three birdies over the first five holes, but then things went awry and five bogeys over the remaining holes followed, ending Du Plessis’ bid for Africa’s major title.

Unlike Du Plessis, Homa had a shaky start and had to chip and putt at the easy second hole to save the score after a crooked tee shot.

Two holes later, he made his first bogey of the tournament when he couldn’t find the green with his tee shot at this par three hole.

However, the lost putt at the fourth gave Homa a wake-up call and he birdied the fifth to get his attack back on track.

An eagle three at the tenth after his putt from the sand pit landed in the can, Homa smiled broadly, after which a birdie at the fourteenth put him at the top of the leaderboard.

“It was a struggle today over the first nine, but over the second nine I found my rhythm and started hitting the ball well. I feel I am playing well enough to win,” Homa said of his performance.

Pavon recorded five birdies and three bogeys in his score of 70. Two of the bogeys were over the last four holes which cost the Frenchman the lead.

“My confidence is high and I don’t care that I finished badly.

“I’m playing against the best in the world and it’s a big challenge for me,” Pavon said afterwards.

The two big guns Tommy Fleetwood (71 for -7) and Justin Thomas (72 for -6) will soon, like Du Plessis, be too far behind the consistent Homa to harbor any dreams of winning.

The last American to achieve success at Sun City was Jim Furyk who walked away with the laurels in 2005 and 2006.

No Frenchman has ever been victorious at the Pilanesberg gambling city so Pavon has the opportunity to rewrite the record books.

However, it will not be easy for Pavon.

Homa is a six-time winner on the tough American PGA Series and has been the most consistent of all the participants over the first three rounds.

Homa also knows that daring does not work on the Gary Player layout and that pure set work will soon decide the champion on Sunday.

*In Phoenix, Arizona, South Africa’s Ernie Els will have to take out if he wants to achieve a second tournament victory this year.

The 54-year-old Els is six strokes behind New Zealander Stephen Alker with one round remaining in the Charles Schwab tournament.

Els finished Saturday’s third round in 69 (-2) for a total of 201 (-11) over the first three days of the US Champions Series for seniors’ final tournament of the year.

Alker recorded a score of 65 (-6) on day three and is four shots ahead at 196 (-17).

Germany’s Alex Cejka (68 for -13) is in second place, with Thailand’s Tongchai Jaidee and Ireland’s Padraig Harrington shooting 69s to be at -12.

Retief Goosen is in eleventh place at -9.

*In Belleair, Florida, a breakthrough victory beckons Emily Kristine Pedersen in the LPGA Series’ Annika Championship.

Pedersen is four strokes ahead of South Korean Amy Yang and Yank Lilia Vu at -18 with just one round remaining.

Perdersen scored a great 64 (-6) on Saturday to solidify her position on the leaderboard.

Yang and Vu recorded outstanding scores of 61 and 62 respectively.

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai had a tough day and entered a 73 (+3) on her scorecard.

She is at 211 in the 66th position.

*Sweden’s Alex Noren leads by one shot after the third round of the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.

Noren shot 67 (-4) on the Port Royal course in Southampton on Saturday to finish at the top of the leaderboard at 194 (-19).

He is chased at 195 by Camilo Villegas, who played a score of 66 to creep closer to the leader.

Ryan Moore (67) and the German Matthias Schmid (65) share third place at 196, but will have to pull out to push Noren or Villegas to the crown.

Additional sources: PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, DP World Tour.