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Golf course progress hailed

Emoni Narawa
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

THE organisers of the inaugural Fiji International golf tournament are working overnight to ensure the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course is in perfect condition when the event gets in progress in four months.

With the tournament set to be televised to about 40 countries, Simon Butterly, the head of the PGA of Australia's tournament division, was back in Fiji last week working with local golf course superintendent Steve Lalor on the ongoing works.

Butterly said all was developing well.

"It's great to see the progress that has already been made," he said.

"There is a lot of infrastructure work required for a golf tournament this size, but it's coming along well and the course will be looking wonderful when we return for the tournament in August."

Former world number one and Fiji's own wonder boy Vijay Singh will be among the international golfers confirmed to compete at the four-day tournament.

"The minor changes being made to the Natadola Bay Championship layout include some shaping of the fairways (the area between the tees and greens) which will help make the golf course tougher for the visiting professionals.

"Work is also being done to clear areas between and around the golf course to improve access for the spectators and officials during the golf tournament.

"Visually the course is stunning but these slight changes will help improve the playability of some of the holes for the professionals."

He said general preparations for the tournament were coming along well with the PGA's Natalie Ritter (based in Natadola) saying the community was right behind the tournament.

"While golf is still a minority sport in Fiji, everyone understands the benefits that this tournament will bring to the local economy," she said.

"The tournament is employing local businesses, contributing to the tourism market and during the week will showcase everything Fiji has to offer to millions around the world via the television broadcast."

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