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Manchester Evening News: Tom Murray on Leopard Creek and 2018
Article posted: 13 December 2018

It’s been redesigned since we last played here but it’s just immaculate. It’s an incredible place and one of the best tournaments you could ever play, just on the edge of the Kruger National Park. 

- Tom Murray

This week we’re playing the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in South Africa and it’s my favourite course in the world.

It’s been redesigned since we last played here but it’s just immaculate. It’s an incredible place and one of the best tournaments you could ever play, just on the edge of the Kruger National Park. 

On Tuesday I played nine holes in the morning and then had a bit of time to kill before a competition on the par three course, which is copies some of the most famous holes in the world. 

Normally you’d hang around doing nothing to kill the time but instead we took the rental car into the Kruger Park for a couple of hours and saw a load of elephants, giraffes and baboons, all sorts, and to have that just a couple of hundred yards from the course, it’s the best venue you could imagine.

I’ve got my godfather Paul, who has never seen me play before, and my dad, Andrew, who rarely gets the chance to see me play, here too and that’s already made it pretty special. I’m ready to end the year with a good week hopefully. 

It’s been a decent couple of weeks. I had a top-10, sharing ninth place, at the Australian PGA on the Gold Coast and in terms of the weather, golf course, the crowds, it was perfect. I played with my good friend Ben Eccles for the first two days, including his birthday, and also had a round with Peter Senior. It was pretty cool to play with a legend of the sport and the Gold Coast is right up there in terms of places I’ve been. 

Then it was on to Johannesburg for the SA Open and I played pretty well but the putter let me down a bit and I finished 54th. I don’t mind Joburg as a place. People are a bit scared because of the crime rate but I’ve always found it to be fine and where all the players stay, in Sandton, is like anywhere really.

After this it’s five weeks at home and I probably won’t touch my clubs until the new year, other than a few social games of golf. I’ll be gymming it a lot to come out fresh and stronger for 2019. Ideally, I’d like to put on about five kilos but in the time I have that might be a little bit optimistic.  

When I look back on 2018, it’s a case of so near so far but, overall, it’s been encouraging because my golf, especially in the second half of the year, has been some of the best I’ve ever played so I’m feeling positive about 2019. 

As I’ve said before, my goal is just to win. It’s simple, I’m not going out there to try and get placings, top 10s and things, I’m just going to try to win every week. 

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