SUN CITY – It will all feel a little strange for Justin Harding when he steps on to the first tee at Gary Player Country Club on Thursday for the opening round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Or will it?
It is the first time in ‘Africa’s Major’ for Harding, and although the thrill of the first tee will certainly play on his nerves as he heads out in the company of Ian Poulter and Romain Langasque, he will certainly feel a little less apprehensive than some of the other South African first-timers in the field.
Part of the reason is that he has had plenty of experience around the Gary Player Country Club, and, in his last outing there, the 2018 Sun City Challenge, he pulled off a sixth-place finish.
So, while the magnitude of the occasion might be considerably bigger, he should settle quickly into his work after a couple of tournaments in which he would have wished to have played better.
His last top-10 on the European Tour came back in October when he finished seventh in the Open de Espana, but it was the first three rounds of the Turkish Airlines Open last week which would have given him a sense of confidence coming into a tournament every South African professional wants to win.