2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge Preview
The European Tour enters its final throes for 2018, with this week’s Nedbank Challenge acting as the precursor to the DP World Tour Championship which will conclude the Rolex Series race next week.
The first in the trio of curtain-call events, the Turkish Airlines Open, was won by Justin Rose in the most heart-stopping fashion.
He went toe-to-toe with the talented young Haotong Li, who had a great chance to win outright on the 72nd hole. Li couldn’t take advantage, and he and Rose went off to replay the 18th in a play-off.
The Chinese ace played the perfect drive, hit a nice short iron into around ten feet and watched on as Rose missed his own birdie putt.
To the surprise of everyone, Li missed the putt which would have won the title, but then also curled a par putt wide from less than six feet.
Rose had won, to his own astonishment, and climbed back up to number one in the world rankings.
TV viewers will be hoping for similar levels of excitement in South Africa this week, with the Nedbank Challenge hosted by the terrifyingly long Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
It measures a whopping 7,800 yards for its Par 72, which makes it one of the longest courses used in world golf at elite level. The length is mitigated somewhat by the altitude of 3,700ft above sea level, but even so this event can become a real grind; reflected in the winning scores here, with only five players finishing double-digits under par in the last three years here.
It’s noticeable that only the classiest of operators thrive at Gary Player CC: Branden Grace, Alex Noren and Marc Leishman are the last three champions in this event, and with the great Player a keen advocate of premium ball-striking, its little wonder that the layout that bears his name plays in such a way.
This is your classic South African set-up, with Kikuyu grass fairways and small Bentgrass greens, which run rather quickly on the stimp. The rough on Kikuyu courses can be particularly nasty, and with plenty of sand around you can see why scoring here tends to be quite tough.
Hit it long and straight off the tee and make tons of GIR; there’s no other way to get the job done here in Sun City.
As such, who makes our draft for the Nedbank Challenge?
This Week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge Fantasy Picks & Predictions
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Cover photo via Instagram