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.
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
Defending champion: Branden Grace (-11)
How to watch the Nedbank Golf Challenge
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?
Players to watch:
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.