One of professional golf's longest layouts
Fleetwood 8/19.00 chases third victory at Sun City
Rai 28/129.00 ready to claim DP World Tour title No 3
Tournament and Course Notes
• Will be the first of four DP World Tour events staged in South Africa over the next five weeks;
• This Gary Player-designed masterpiece was opened in 1979 and, at over 7,800 yards, is one of the longest layouts in professional golf. Demands accurate ball-striking, as well as power and accuracy;
• All par fours are in excess of 420 yards, every par three is over 210, while the shortest par-five is 547 yards;
• The course, which has been part of the DP World Tour schedule since 2013, was built inside an extinct volcanic crater;
• This parkland venue, which is laid out just over 1,000 feet above sea level, has Kikuyu grass fairways and Bent grass putting surfaces, and was carved out of densely wooded rolling countryside. It has narrow tree-lined fairways and small but quick putting surfaces that are well protected by sand;
• Water comes into play on just five holes and there is a handful of interesting dog-legs too.
Latest betting for this week's Nedbank Challenge
Good Current Form And Strong Course History
Two players who can claim to have both good current form, plus a decent recent history at Sun City, are Ryan Fox 12/113.00 and Aaron Rai 28/129.00.
Fox, winner of this year's Wentworth PGA, was runner-up here 12 months ago and has posted three podium finishes in his last five starts.
Rai, who spends most of his time in the States nowadays, finished second to Fox over the West Course, and tied-ninth in Qatar two weeks ago.
His brace of Sun City appearances have yielded finishes of 8-13.
Germany's Marcel Siem 66/167.00, although an unlikely champion this week, has had two top-six finishes at Sun City from three outings. And, during European Tour events last month, he notched up two top-10s. Perhaps a reasonable e/w shout.
Good Current Form
Among a host of players with solid recent form, are Max Homa 8/19.00, Jordan Smith 25/126.00, Thorbjorn Olesen 25/126.00, Rasmus Hojgaard 33/134.00, Ewen Ferguson 40/141.00 and Daniel Hillier 80/181.00.
World No 8 Homa is the highest-ranked pro taking part and was easily America's leading player at this year's Ryder Cup match in Italy.
Good Course Form
Tommy Fleetwood 8/19.00 tees-up in search of a third straight Sun City title and has played pretty solidly over the past six months.
Joost Luiten 50/151.00 might be another strong e/w bet. His current form is respectable, and his seven outings at Sun City have produced five T20s.
Branden Grace 28/129.00 is a former winner of this tournament, while adding another three top-10s.
However, the South African is competing in his first event since The Open in July.
Meanwhile, Ockie Strydom 400/1401.00 and Louis De Jager 70/171.00 have both enjoyed good Sun City performances in Sunshine Tour events.
De Jager is a two-time runner-up since 2016, while Strydom has had six top-10s during the same period.
Lowest Eight At Sun City (2016-22)
Average .... (Rounds)
70.31: Tommy Fleetwood (16)
70.75: Jason Scrivener (8)
70.85: Branden Grace (20)
71.00: Aaron Rai (8)
71.25: Robert MacIntyre (8)
71.38: Julien Guerrier (8)
71.38: Sebastian Soderberg (8)
71.40: Joost Luiten (20)
Min. No. of Rounds = 8
Only those entered this week are included in table
MC* - Missed Additional 54-Hole Cut
Note: List Contains Leading Reserves
Note: Regarding course form, the 2020 tournament refers to the South African Open, not Nedbank Challenge.