Nedbank Challenge 2019: Our course and current form guides ahead of this week's Rolex Series event at Sun City

Nedbank Challenge 2019: Sun City
Sun City: This tough Gary Player-designed course opened for business 40 years ago next month

With the European Tour season reaching its penultimate week, Andy Swales supplies the stats for the trip to South Africa ....

"At more than 7,800 yards in length, the course demands solid, accurate ball-striking, with both power and accuracy required in abundance. Although the ball flies further than normal, due to the venue being just over 1,000 feet above sea level, it still requires plenty of hefty swipes to get to grips with this layout."

From Turkey to South Africa, the European Tour has arrived in Sun City for the Nedbank Challenge.

First staged in 1981, the tournament remains one of the most prestigious events in the Rainbow Nation's sporting calendar.

Hosted by Gary Player, this week's venue is located in the north-west of the country, around 75 miles from Pretoria and will once again be the penultimate destination on the Tour calendar.

After the dust settles on Sunday evening, the leading 50 players in the Race to Dubai standings will head to the United Arab Emirates for the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

As for this week's Nedbank-sponsored event, it will feature an elite 64-player field, with the champion banking $2.5m - which is double the amount given to last year's winner Lee Westwood.

Monster Layout

Sun City is a luxury resort which opened in 1979, along with its championship golf course which was designed by nine-time major winner Gary Player - now 84 years old.

The course has been a regular venue for two other events on South Africa's Sunshine Tour.

Up until 2009, it hosted the Dimension Data Pro-Am, as well as staging the Sun City Challenge between 2007 and 2011, and again from 2016.

As for the Nedbank Challenge, it has been part of the European Tour schedule for the past six years, and is a layout which immediately earns the respect of every golfer who tees-up here.

At more than 7,800 yards in length, the course demands solid, accurate ball-striking, with both power and accuracy required in abundance.

Although the ball flies further than normal, due to the venue being just over 1,000 feet above sea level, it still requires plenty of hefty swipes to get to grips with this layout.

Check out latest betting ahead of this week's Nedbank Challenge

Only one par-four is less than 440 yards, while all the par-threes are over 210. The shortest par-five is 547 yards.

From tee-to-green, it remains a course ready to penalise any slightly errant shot thanks to narrow fairways, and small but fast Bentgrass putting surfaces, which 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.

Headline Acts

At No 18, Tommy Fleetwood is the highest-ranked player taking part, along with four others from the world's top 30.

Fleetwood remains strong off the tee although his form has slipped slightly over the past three months - but he can't be ruled out.

As for other solid tee-to-green players, the experience of Henrik Stenson and defending champion Westwood could prove to be an important ingredient this week.

Westwood has won the Nedbank Challenge three times, two of these before the event became part of the European Tour schedule in 2013, while Stenson triumphed once.

Off The Tee

Two golfers who certainly don't lack length of the tee are Kurt Kitayama and George Coetzee.

Kitayama is also in excellent form, following three top-four finishes from his most recent four starts.

The American lost a play-off in Turkey on Sunday after closing with a 64.

The one doubt against him is that this will be his competitive debut on an extremely testing layout.

Coetzee, on the other hand, has plenty of experience here, and has been in pretty decent form of late too.

He stood on the podium in France and won on his home Sunshine Tour in early November.

The 33-year-old from Pretoria may not turn out to be this week's winner but is definitely a potential each-way candidate on home soil.

Another South African in solid form is Louis Oosthuizen who finished third at the recent HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

The 37-year-old stood on the podium at Sun City 12 months ago and is a former winner over the course - albeit at the Dimension Data Pro-Am of 2007.

Twitter: Andy Swales@GolfStatsAlive

MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut

Note: List Contains Leading Reserves

Position

  • 1–5
  • 6–15
  • 16–25
Player W45 W44 W43 W42 W41 W40 W39 W38 W37 W36
Tommy Fleetwood 53 22 20 5 60
Louis Oosthuizen 3 46
Bernd Wiesberger 49 49 1 MC 17 5
Matthew Fitzpatrick 7 75 2 26 46
Matt Wallace 50 60 8 7 15 41 3
Rafael Cabrera-Bello 57 30 26 2 MC 6
Henrik Stenson 20 MC 17
Ian Poulter Wd 13 16 MC 60
Erik Van Rooyen 2 38 MC 10 MC 14
Alex Noren 28 15 18 34 15 28
Hao Tong Li 46 24 MC MC 23 51
Tom Lewis 32 8 MC MC 5 MC MC
Justin Harding 25 53 57 7 MC MC
Lucas Bjerregaard 72 MC 45 MC 23 MC MC
Andrea Pavan 28 49 10 12 10 46
Lee Westwood 10 56 60 MC MC MC
Paul Waring 16 8 25 3 21 28
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 56 8 MC MC 51
Thomas Pieters 17 26 68 37 10 20
Robert MacIntyre 7 17 4 26 28 2
Kurt Kitayama 2 28 4 3 MC 14 21 36
Joost Luiten 25 34 11 25 40 31 10
Mike Lorenzo-Vera 38 40 15 37 10
Christiaan Bezuidenhout 56 17 MC 3
Jorge Campillo 28 34 MC MC MC MC 33
Adri Arnaus 65 40 48 4 MC MC
Benjamin Hebert 2 65 16 MC 46 37
Guido Migliozzi 10 14 MC 48 MC MC 7
Romain Langasque 9 46 18 MC MC 17 27
Martin Kaymer 38 21 5 MC MC 57 MC
Branden Grace MC 46 MC MC 60 MC
Sebastian Soderberg 53 MC 25 34 64 70
Mikko Korhonen 31 25 17 37 65
Marcus Kinhult 17 11 18 40 46
Ryan Fox 21 31 18 18 54 MC 60
Andy Sullivan 8 23 MC MC 74 36
Jordan Smith 46 31 54 24 5 24 MC
Matthew Southgate 21 31 MC 2 MC 10 46
Joachim B Hansen 10 61 2 25 4 MC MC
Joakim Lagergren 53 14 60 3 24 7 20
Richard Sterne 50 70 15 MC 31 22
Thomas Detry 32 8 MC 23 MC 36
Masahiro Kawamura 46 22 23 7 MC 9 25
George Coetzee 66 1 14 3 48 MC 71 15
Aaron Rai 44 MC 18 54 26
Oliver Wilson 56 56 MC MC 34 MC
David Lipsky 32 29 69 51 MC MC
Chris Paisley 62 5 8 40 MC MC 27
Kalle Samooja 17 21 18 40 MC MC
Nicolas Colsaerts 38 1 64 17 MC 57 MC
Richie Ramsay 32 5 MC 10 6 55 MC
Steven Brown 70 1 11 MC 37 MC 64 15
Jason Scrivener 21 26 55 7 MC MC
Gavin Green 50 48 MC MC 72 40
Pablo Larrazabal 69 14 MC 33 MC MC 7
Scott Hend 36 28 MC 28 MC MC MC 36
Zander Lombard 17 72 MC 7 26 MC 36
Nacho Elvira 67 MC MC 64 37 MC MC 36
Alvaro Quiros 56 MC MC MC 58 64 46
Shubhankar Sharma 7 21 40 7 MC 17 40
Scott Jamieson 10 MC MC 46 57 21
Padraig Harrington 62 MC MC 26 46 15 12
Ernie Els MC 64
Nino Bertasio 28 MC 34 23 MC Dq 49
Fabrizio Zanotti 38 MC 12 46 MC MC MC
Wade Ormsby 38 40 MC MC MC
Edoardo Molinari 38 MC 40 23 MC 64 21
Sean Crocker 25 MC MC 36 MC
Justin Walters 67 2 61 10 68 MC MC Wd
Ross Fisher 10 49 MC 25 17 MC 31 46
Sam Horsfield 53 49 14 34 34 31 49 14
Player 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Tommy Fleetwood 10 14 21 14
Louis Oosthuizen 3 8 9 11 7 14
Bernd Wiesberger 19 25
Matthew Fitzpatrick 27 8 20 16
Matt Wallace 5 34
Rafael Cabrera-Bello 42 55
Henrik Stenson 8 2 4
Ian Poulter 19
Erik Van Rooyen 60
Alex Noren 12 1
Hao Tong Li 5 4 20
Tom Lewis 67
Justin Harding
Lucas Bjerregaard 11 37 32
Andrea Pavan 11
Lee Westwood 1 6 28 16
Paul Waring 35 19
Kiradech Aphibarnrat 46 42 39 16 5
Thomas Pieters 34
Robert MacIntyre
Kurt Kitayama
Joost Luiten 27 12 14 24 16
Mike Lorenzo-Vera 11 37
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
Jorge Campillo 46 27 67
Adri Arnaus
Benjamin Hebert 35 19 34
Guido Migliozzi
Romain Langasque
Martin Kaymer 21 5 44 25 21 16
Branden Grace 11 1 3 4 20
Sebastian Soderberg
Mikko Korhonen 16
Marcus Kinhult 71
Ryan Fox 50 52
Andy Sullivan 41 65 3 16
Jordan Smith 21 Wd
Matthew Southgate 69 39
Joachim B Hansen
Joakim Lagergren 27 44
Richard Sterne 21 19 20 14
Thomas Detry 7
Masahiro Kawamura
George Coetzee 41 37 25 16
Aaron Rai 8
Oliver Wilson
David Lipsky 42 49
Chris Paisley 9 49
Kalle Samooja
Nicolas Colsaerts 35 57 37
Richie Ramsay 19 25
Steven Brown
Jason Scrivener 16
Gavin Green 57
Pablo Larrazabal 27 60 39 16
Scott Hend 57 44
Zander Lombard
Nacho Elvira 54 29 25
Alvaro Quiros
Shubhankar Sharma 27
Scott Jamieson 2
Padraig Harrington 35 42 55
Ernie Els 29
Nino Bertasio
Fabrizio Zanotti 29 16
Wade Ormsby 16
Edoardo Molinari 55
Sean Crocker
Justin Walters
Ross Fisher 4 34 25 15 2
Sam Horsfield 46
No. of Starters: 72 72 72 30 30 30

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