Haindl brings European experience to Sun City
He missed the cut last time he played on the Lost City Golf Course, but Alex Haindl brings a host of new experience to the R550 000 Sun City Challenge which gets underway on Thursday.
The 29-year-old had his sole victory in the Sunshine Tour in 2006 when he won the Suncoast Classic, but he earned his European Tour card at Q-School last year and has been campaigning away from home – with three top-20 finishes for his efforts.
So while his rounds of 78 and 73 in last year’s Nedbank Affinity Cup saw him miss the final round of the event won by Warren Abery, his 16th-place finish in the Madeira Open on May 13 showed he will be a tough competitor back on home soil.
Also, in his last tournament in South Africa ahead of his European campaign, he took a share of second in the Telkom PGA Championship behind Keith Horne.
So in the Sunshine Tour event which has taken the place of the Nashua Golf Challenge – and has moved from the Gary Player Country Club just up the hill to the Lost City – Haindl will be one of the contenders who will have Adilson Da Silva in his sights.
Da Silva won the event at Gary Player Country Club last year with a course-record equalling 63 in his final round, and he, too, is back in South Africa after spending some time playing on the Asian Tour.
Haindl didn’t play in the corresponding event last year, but his European form will certainly give him the confidence to perform better than he did last time he played on the course.
His other top-20 finishes in Europe came in the Open de Andalucía Costa del Sol where he came 17th and in the Sicilian Open with a 19th-spot finish.
The 54-hole Sun City Challenge will be played on the Lost City Golf Course from Thursday, and will conclude on Saturday.