Nedbank Golf Challenge Betting Tips & Predictions – Thursday 8th November 2018

The Nedbank Golf Challenge has changed a lot in the last few years. It used to be an elite and lucrative invitational open only to 12 players but has become the second of three Race to Dubai playoff events. Many of the European Tour’s biggest stars will be competing in Sun City as they jostle for position ahead of next week’s DP World Tour Championship at which the Race to Dubai champion will be crowned.

It’s a shame that there aren’t more players from the top of the Race to Dubai rankings competing in Sun City this week. There are some big stars though including Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Louis Oosthuizen who are all well capable of winning. It’s another major champion, Danny Willett, who may just offer the best value in the betting though. The 2014 Nedbank Golf Challenge champion is finally getting back to the levels he’s capable of and could well cap his return with a win at 33/1 with bet365.

Top Tips

Danny Willett @ 33/1

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

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Course Info

Such is the stature of the Nedbank Golf Challenge these days that it is colloquially known as Africa’s major. A tournament with that sort of billing needs a fitting host venue and that’s what we have in Gary Play County Club. At first look you may think that the course’s official yardage of 7,831 is a bit of a joke but Sun City is at altitude so the ball flies further through the air than at sea level. The event organisers also have a host of different options in terms of tee and pin positions so expect that totally yardage to change significantly from round to round.

Distance is a help around Gary Player Country Club especially on the par fives which are only reachable in two for the biggest hitters but the Nedbank Golf Challenge has been won by many different styles of golfer. It’s important to hit a high percentage of greens in regulation and to get up and down to keep bogeys off the card. That opens the door to those who can make the most of their big drives, the best ball strikers and those with the most solid short games so it should simply be a case of whoever plays best, wins.

CourseLocationLengthPrize Money
Gary Player Country Club Sun City, South Africa 7,831 Yards $7,500,000

Recent Winners

Branden Grace won last year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge to the delight of the watching South African galleries. Grace turned out to be best placed to deal with the blustery playing conditions thanks to his penetrating ball flight whilst he also putted incredibly well. Grace ranked fourth for putts per green in regulation. Marc Leishman ranked eighth for that stat in 2015 which is the worst of any of the most recent five winners.

YearWinnerTo ParWinning Margin
2017 Branden Grace -11 1 Stroke
2016 Alex Noren -14 6 Strokes
2015 Marc Leishman -19 6 Strokes
2014 Danny Willett -18 4 Strokes
2013 Thomas Bjorn -20 2 Strokes

Analysis: Marrying Up Approach Play with Putting Will be Key

As we’ve seen, Gary Player Country Club really isn’t the bomber’s paradise that it appears on first glance. What matters here is fashioning chances, whether that’s from 350+ yards away from the tee and in the rough or from 260 yards in the dead centre of the fairway. The winner this week will leave their approach shots close to the hole than the vast majority of their competitors and hole more than their fair share of putts.

Willett to Relish Return to Past Success

As a winner of the green jacket, Danny Willett gets a lifetime invitation to the Masters. That’s one of the most coveted prizes in golf but it must have felt like more of a curse for the Englishman in the last two years. Willett’s game has been nowhere near the levels he reached when winning the Masters and was frankly embarrassed when missing the cut on both subsequent returns to Augusta National.

Many golfers have faded into obscurity after winning their first major championship. It looked for all the world as though the added pressure that came Willett’s way after his Masters success would prove to be too much for him but his approach to his troubles has been nothing short of admirable.

Willett took a long term view with his golf game. He began working with Sean Foley to rework his swing and whilst that inevitably meant short term pain, the hard work is really starting to pay off. He’s secured three top 10 finishes since the summer and looked almost back to his best at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Some sloppy mistakes cost him his chance of really contending for European Tour win number six last week. Willett has certainly taken heart from that performance though as he returns to Gary Player Country Club where he has won before. Willett is trending in the right direction and represents very good betting value at 33/1 with BetVictor.

Herbert Primed for Another Lucrative Finish

The Rolex Series has been an excellent addition to the European Tour. It tends to provide top class winners of high quality tournaments but the evens are also great opportunities for up and coming players. The prizes available for a top 10 finish can do wonders for young players as Lucas Herbert is finding out.

Herbert claimed a very nice cheque for finishing tied 35th in the Turkish Airlines Open last week and is primed to do even better in Sun City. The Australian is one of the biggest hitters on the European Tour and ranks fifth for greens hit under regulation this season. He’ll therefore have chances on the par fives whilst his impressive putting stats suggest he will make more birdies than most. The bookies are waking up to Herbert’s ability but he is still available at a generous 50/1 with Ladbrokes.

Final Verdict: Danny Willett to Win

The Nedbank Golf Challenge is a great opportunity for players looking to make big breakthrough like Lucas Herbert but it’s Danny Willett’s opportunity for redemption that makes most appeal. A win would be massive after all the Englishman has gone through and it’s well within his capabilities at a course he enjoys so back Willett to win at 33/1 with bet365.

About

The Nedbank Golf Challenge is one of the richest tournaments on the European Tour and also the penultimate event before the Tour Championships. It's hosted by golf legend, Gary Player and is played at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

The tournament has been running since 1981 and in that time has been a massive success. It was one of the first tournaments in 1987 to offer a $1million first prize, which was then known as the Million Dollar Challenge. Throughout the years the prize money has always been impressive and for three years between 2001 and 2002, the prize money got as high as $2million for first place alone. These days, it's a little less $1.16million, with a $7million overall prize pool.

For many years the tournament ran as an Unofficial Money Event, before it was added to the Sunshine tour in 2006. It wasn't until 2013 that is was added to the European Tour. It's been a tournament that has always had small field, initially having just 10 players, before expanding to 30 when it came on the European Tour and has been expanded again, to 72 for more recent competitions.

The reduced field size makes it a highly prestigious tournament to earn entry in and also has seen some of the greats of the game to win it, including the likes of Johnny Miller, Seve Ballesteros, Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood, to name just a few.

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