Nedbank Golf Challenge Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times

Branden Grace is the defending champion at Sun City in South Africa

Gary Player CC
Gary Player CC
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s the penultimate event of the European Tour’s 2018 Race to Dubai this week. Branden Grace is defending champion in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

Nedbank Golf Challenge Leaderboard, Preview, TV Times

Branden Grace is defending champion this week in the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player in Sun City, South Africa.

With many of the leading players on the Race to Dubai standings taking a week off before the DP World Tour Championship, this event gives those in the chasing pack a great chance to make progress. A Rolex Series event, the tournament carries significant prize money as well as big Race to Dubai points.

Rory McIlroy is the top-ranked player in the field this week with last week’s runner-up Haotong Li and Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard next best placed.

McIlroy is looking forward to making a return to the event.

“I’ve always had a great time in South Africa,” he said. “The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a huge week on my schedule and the penultimate event before we battle it out for the Race to Dubai title.”

The Northern Irishman will have his work cut out to take the Race to Dubai crown. He’s almost 2,000,000 points behind leader Francesco Molinari so would need to win this week and hope Molinari, and others are off their games in Dubai.

First played in 1981, the Nedbank Challenge can boast an incredible roll call of champions. Johnny Miller won the inaugural event and Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Alex Noren have all been winners. Last season, Branden Grace came out on top.

Branden Grace defends Nedbank Golf Challenge

Branden Grace defends Nedbank Golf Challenge

This tournament provides a great opportunity for players to make a move up the Race to Dubai standings and give themselves a chance to, either be in line to share the bonus pool (divided between the top-10) or simply to play in the season ending DP World Tour Championship next week in Dubai, (the top-60 on the standings after this event will be eligible for Dubai.)

Currently sitting in 60th spot is England’s Chris Paisley but he’ll be looking over his shoulder at the likes of Nacho Elvira, Benjamin Hebert, Dean Burmester and Robert Rock who are immediately behind him and trying to move up the table.

The course at the Gary Player Country Club opened for play back in 1979. It’s a long and challenging track offering spectacular views of the Pilanesberg Mountains.

The weather forecast looks pretty good – light winds and steadily climbing temperatures. It could be 33 deg C by Sunday.

Venue: Gary Player CC, Sun City, South Africa Date: Nov 8-11 Course stats: par 72, 7,831 yards Purse: $7,500,000 Defending champion: Branden Grace (-11)

How to watch the Nedbank Golf Challenge

TV Coverage: Thursday 8 – Sky Sports Golf from 8am and Sky Sports Main Event from 12pm Friday 9 – Sky Sports Golf from 8am Saturday 10 – Sky Sports Golf from 8am Sunday 11 – Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event from 8am

Not a Sky Sports customer and want to watch the Nedbank Golf Challenge?

BUY NOW: Now TV Sky Sports Pass – £7.99 for a day, £12.99 for a week or £33.99 for a month

Players to watch:

Haotong Li

Haotong Li

Haotong Li – The young Chinese player lost out in a playoff with Justin Rose for the Turkish Airlines Open so is clearly on fine form. He played well in this event last year, finishing alone in fourth.

Martin Kaymer – The German was fifth at Sun City last season and comes into this event on the back of a top-five finish in Turkey.

Lee Westwood – A former winner of this event, Westwood has been showing good late season form, he was a top-10 finisher at Sun City last year.

Key hole: 17th. At 478 yards, this is a highly daunting par 4. Water guards the entire left side, threatening for both drive and approach. The right side is guarded by sand from the tee and a sprawling bunker short, right of the green. It requires two long, accurate shots and a big number is always possible here. Walk off with a par and breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?