Nedbank Affinity Cup turns up the heat
The temperature at the Lost City Golf Club was hovering around 34 degrees Celsius on Monday as Warren Abery prepared for his defence of the Nedbank Affinity Cup on the Sunshine Tour this week. But for Abery and his fellow pros, it’s only going to get hotter over the next few weeks.
“This is such a key tournament for us because it’s the last opportunity to get your game in good shape before the big summer tournaments tee off,” said Abery.
The Nedbank Affinity Cup is indeed the final indicator for every Sunshine Tour pro as to where their game is before the big-money events on the schedule, including the six tournaments co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
It begins with next week’s South African Open, which is one of three of the next four tournaments that are on the European Tour schedule.
“That’s why this week is so key for me, because I’m able to come back to a tournament and a golf course where I’ve won before and really get my mind and game right for the summer,” said Abery, who won by two strokes here last year for the seventh victory of his career.
“I love the Lost City golf course. I like the greens here, which are usually quick.” And Abery says he’ll be hunting consistency off the tee in the Pilanesberg this week.
“The next couple of tournaments are going to have narrow fairways, so I want to work on that. I’m happy with my iron play at the moment.”
A win in last year’s Nedbank Affinity Cup confirmed Abery’s obvious talent. But the KwaZulu-Natal professional is hoping that this summer he can step up to a major victory in one of the European Tour events. It’s why he’s decided to skip the European Tour’s Second Stage of Qualifying School this week, and instead return to defend his title at Sun City.
“As South African professionals, we put so much pressure on ourselves to peak at this time of the year. You sometimes make the mistake of just focusing on making the cuts in the European Tour events. I need to think about winning one of them now, and this would be a good week to get everything in place to achieve that goal.”