Nedbank Challenge 2018: Check out our form guides ahead of this week's event

Louis Oosthuizen
Louis Oosthuizen: The highest-ranked South African teeing-up at Sun City
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Andy Swales supplies course and current form stats for this week's European Tour trip to Sun City ...

"Never underestimate the likelihood of a South African winner in home tournaments, especially if the field is slightly below par – as it appears this week."

Sun City in South Africa hosts this week's Nedbank Challenge, which remains one of the most prestigious events in the country's sporting calendar.

The tournament has been part of the European Tour schedule since 2013, although this multi-million dollar competition dates back almost 40 years.

Designed by nine-time major champion Gary Player, and opened in 1979, this flat, tree-lined course does not suffer fools gladly.

From tee-to-green, it remains a layout ready to penalise any errant shot thanks to its narrow fairways and small Bentgrass greens that are well protected by sand.

Water is not a major issue at Sun City but there are plenty of other hazards to grab a golfer's attention - from opening tee-shot to final putt.

Located in the north of the country, around 75 miles from Pretoria, Sun City is the penultimate destination ahead of next week's season-ending DP Tour World Championship in Dubai.

Not Quite The Usual Recipe

Although the 72 players are chasing a better-than-average prize fund on the European Tour, the field is possibly the weakest in tournament history.

Only one player from the world's top 25 is teeing-up, which means many of those chasing top spot in the Race to Dubai standings must be taking a rest ahead of next week's grand finale in the Middle East.

World No 6 Rory McIlroy is the star attraction, with the 29-year-old making just his second appearance at Sun City.

His first came in 2009, when the event was a 12-player invitation-only field, with the young McIlroy withdrawing from the tournament after 36 holes.

Sergio Garcia, who won at Valderrama three weeks ago, is back in action.

The Spaniard was runner-up on his last visit five years ago and is a two-time former champion at Sun City, during the event's former life as an elite competition.

His brace of wins came at the ages of 21 and 23, the last of these in 2003.

Beware Home Players

Never underestimate the likelihood of a South African winner in home tournaments, especially if the field is slightly below par - as it appears this week.

Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel and defending champion Branden Grace lead the way for the hosts.

None of this trio is in stunning form right now, but knowledge of South Africa's unique conditions can never be understated.

Oosthuizen tied-fifth at the CIMB Classic last month, while Grace has not finished outside the top-four at Sun City in his most recent three visits.

And good form from abroad

Among those in good current form are Hao Tong Li - runner-up last week - Lucas Bjerregaard, Shane Lowry and Tom Lewis whose remarkable renaissance during the second half of 2018 continues.

And don't forget two former major champions in the shape of Danny Willett and Martin Kaymer.

Neither golfer currently occupies a spot in the world's top 140, although both posted top-10 finishes last week in Turkey.

Willett's form has shown some improvement in recent weeks, and he is a former Sun City champion on the European Tour, while Kaymer won here in 2012 which was the last time it was an invitation-only event.

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut

Note: List contains leading reserves

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W44 W43 W42 W41 W40 W39 W38 W37 W36 W35 W34 W33
Rory McIlroy 54 7 5 12
Sergio Garcia 1 7 24
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 23 4 33 MC 45
Louis Oosthuizen 29 5 32 58 31 28
Matthew Fitzpatrick 54 16 MC 1 7 36
Branden Grace 41 48 50 55 43 MC
Hao Tong Li 2 11 9 5 27 24 MC
Lucas Bjerregaard 5 69 9 1 20 2 6 9 Wd
Matt Wallace 47 50 16 28 44 51 1 36
Alexander Bjork 14 28 2 MC Wd MC
Ross Fisher 64 34 32 40 MC 59
Shane Lowry 14 2 34 MC 6 MC
Julian Suri 23 64 5 21 53 16 35 41
Charl Schwartzel 70 MC 40 8 MC
Dylan Frittelli 54 25 39 9 42 17
Lucas Herbert 35 3 7 2 28 MC 44 5
Ryan Fox 23 30 MC 24 27 MC 30
Chris Wood Wd MC 12 2 23
Tom Lewis 14 5 10 1 3 1 65 6 29
Adrian Otaegui 3 62 MC MC 24 MC 10
Jorge Campillo 35 54 Dq MC 44 15 55
Alexander Levy 10 28 42 32 MC 20 56
Mikko Korhonen 35 3 48 12 24 45 MC
Paul Dunne 18 42 MC 44 MC MC
Brandon Stone 72 46 MC 10 10
Mike Lorenzo-Vera 43 48 MC MC 3
Andrea Pavan 33 22 16 5 20 MC 1 6
Joost Luiten 23 11
Lee Westwood 35 5 MC 36 12 2 61
Shubhankar Sharma 43 69 55 10 MC 42 MC MC
Andy Sullivan 18 62 9 10 20 28 30
Erik Van Rooyen 35 22 MC MC 11 35 5
Jordan Smith 55 3 32 27 10 20 36
Marcus Kinhult 30 22 48 20 4 56 49 45
Chris Paisley 33 24 8 MC MC MC
Richard McEvoy 75 29 72 MC MC 15 16 37 34
Darren Fichardt 23 71 29 48 74 8 2
Hideto Tanihara 35 MC MC MC 3 6 37 MC
Dean Burmester 47 48 MC MC MC MC
George Coetzee 58 50 MC MC 20 44 35
Martin Kaymer 5 MC MC 15 MC MC 61
Matthew Southgate 60 58 22 MC MC 24 30 20 10
Benjamin Hebert 60 MC 32 MC 11 23 44 24
Sam Horsfield 10 5 MC MC 64 MC 10
Joakim Lagergren 55 MC 29 MC MC MC MC 45 34
Gavin Green 47 52 9 MC MC MC 12 MC 3
Padraig Harrington 35 66 22 7 MC 5 2 MC
Ashun Wu 47 64 44 1 6 49 MC MC
Nicolas Colsaerts 14 Dq 10 40 64 23 27 MC MC
Andrew Johnston 43 22 48 34 MC 35 MC 10
Wade Ormsby 47 52 29 MC 20 MC
Nacho Elvira 68 57 MC 10 MC* MC 4 18 24
Paul Waring 58 42 56 MC MC MC MC 1
Thomas Detry 3 MC 48 MC 3 MC 7 13
Lee Slattery 55 MC 48 20 51 MC 4 10
Pablo Larrazabal 18 MC 56 56 MC* 11 16
Aaron Rai 43 MC 56 MC MC MC MC 24 24
Robert Rock 30 16 29 20 34 MC 17 6
Jason Scrivener 23 54 22 MC 24 12 15 MC 69 18 61
Matthias Schwab 18 22 10 27 MC MC MC 9 MC
Renato Paratore 30 MC MC 32 27 36 MC 36 MC
Matthieu Pavon 68 MC 20 44 MC 59 MC 29
Tapio Pulkkanen 10 MC MC 4 63 MC MC MC 44 34
Oliver Fisher 64 11 MC 32 7 MC MC 71 MC
Stephen Gallacher 35 29 70 10 44 23 27 24 MC
Jens Dantorp 64 MC MC MC MC Wd MC MC MC
Maximilian Kieffer 54 5 MC MC MC 36 35 29 3
Ashley Chesters 47 4 MC 44 16 28 MC 9 59 29
Thomas Aiken 10 16 68 MC MC* 30 71 MC 2
Danny Willett 7 23 MC MC 44 59 MC 18
Trevor Immelman 47 34 44
Thomas Bjorn 60 58 MC 69 MC
Richard Sterne 60 Wd 22 MC 16 43 17
Julien Guerrier 68 29 22 32 34 36 23 MC 9 MC
Soren Kjeldsen 72 29 42 48 56 6 12 12 MC 45
Jeung-Hun Wang 64 29 29 MC 36 12 MC MC MC
Scott Hend 68 66 MC MC MC Wd 45 MC 70
Alvaro Quiros 72 16 MC MC MC MC
David Lipsky 22 34 MC 63 MC 35 MC 50
Steven Brown 42 16 MC MC MC MC 2 MC MC
Mikko Ilonen MC 32 Wd MC
Player 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Rory McIlroy
Sergio Garcia 2
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 42 39 16 5
Louis Oosthuizen 8 9 11 7 14
Matthew Fitzpatrick 8 20 16
Branden Grace 1 3 4 20
Hao Tong Li 4 20
Lucas Bjerregaard 37 32
Matt Wallace 34
Alexander Bjork 52
Ross Fisher 34 25 15 2
Shane Lowry 12 25 11
Julian Suri 42
Charl Schwartzel 12 39 9 14 6
Dylan Frittelli 42
Lucas Herbert
Ryan Fox 52
Chris Wood 68 25 3
Tom Lewis
Adrian Otaegui 60 55
Jorge Campillo 27 67
Alexander Levy 37 64 21
Mikko Korhonen
Paul Dunne 29
Brandon Stone 66 69
Mike Lorenzo-Vera 37
Andrea Pavan
Joost Luiten 12 14 24 16
Lee Westwood 6 28 16
Shubhankar Sharma
Andy Sullivan 65 3 16
Erik Van Rooyen
Jordan Smith Wd
Marcus Kinhult
Chris Paisley 49
Richard McEvoy
Darren Fichardt 6 12
Hideto Tanihara 52
Dean Burmester 42
George Coetzee 37 25 16
Martin Kaymer 5 44 25 21 16
Matthew Southgate 39
Benjamin Hebert 19 34
Sam Horsfield
Joakim Lagergren 44
Gavin Green
Padraig Harrington 42 55
Ashun Wu
Nicolas Colsaerts 57 37
Andrew Johnston 34
Wade Ormsby
Nacho Elvira 29 25
Paul Waring 19
Thomas Detry
Lee Slattery 29 70
Pablo Larrazabal 60 39 16
Aaron Rai
Robert Rock 55
Jason Scrivener
Matthias Schwab
Renato Paratore 60 25
Matthieu Pavon 19
Tapio Pulkkanen
Oliver Fisher
Stephen Gallacher 60 12
Jens Dantorp
Maximilian Kieffer
Ashley Chesters
Thomas Aiken 32 13
Danny Willett 11 4 1
Trevor Immelman
Thomas Bjorn 60 24 1
Richard Sterne 19 20 14
Julien Guerrier
Soren Kjeldsen 12 16 29
Jeung-Hun Wang 55 2
Scott Hend 57 44
Alvaro Quiros
David Lipsky 42 49
Steven Brown
Mikko Ilonen 53 28
No. of Starters 72 72 30 30 30
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