2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge – Tournament Outright Betting Preview

The leading lights of the European Tour head to Sun City for the penultimate event of the season this week when the Nedbank Golf Challenge is once again played out. This is an event which has undergone a number of changes through the years and now forms part of the Rolex Series.

Branden Grace thrilled the home crowds last year to lift the title amid a spell of decent form. He is back to defend his crown but there is a top class field looking to play great golf on a seriously good course to deny him in his title defence.

Recent Winners

2017 – Branden Grace

2016 – Alex Noren

2015 – Marc Leishman

2014 – Danny Willett

2013 – Thomas Bjorn

2012 – Martin Kaymer

2011 – Lee Westwood

2010 – Lee Westwood

2009 – Robert Allenby

2008 – Henrik Stenson

The Course

It is the Gary Player Country Club which hosts the tournament again this week. This is a brute of a course on paper with the par 72 layout stretching to 7,816 yards but we are at altitude so the ball flies further than normal so the course doesn’t play to the full numbers.

You have to keep the ball in play off the tee and be accurate with shots into the greens to go well around here. Of course you need to putt well too but the rough is consistent on this course and the firm course requires the use of spin to keep the ball on these greens. Length is valuable but as we can see by the roll of honour it is not essential.

The Field

If we are being honest there have been stronger fields making their way out to this tournament but even so there are still a host of top names here, headed by Ryder Cup winning pair Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia. South African pair Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace add star attraction to proceedings too.

Chinese superstar Haotong Li is taking the earliest chance to put his meltdown last week behind him as he tees it up this week while former champions around here Danny Willett, Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn and Martin Kaymer are all in the field as well. Matthew Fitzpatrick and Matt Wallace bolster the English charge.

Market Leaders

Rory McIlroy is an 8/1 favourite to win the tournament this week. His driver could well see him go very well but I’m not convinced the rest of his game is working all that well and based on his display in China a couple of weeks ago there isn’t a huge amount left in the McIlroy tank. I’m never surprised if McIlroy wins on the European Tour but I’m in no rush to back him as short as 8/1 that’s for sure.

Sergio Garcia is the second favourite at 9/1 and if I was one for single figure prices in a field of this kind then I would be all over him of the two. He hasn’t had the best of 2018s but the way he won at Valderrama was really appealing on the eye. That was decent form and like this course that one was all about the long game. That said, I’m not one for single figure prices.

Louis Oosthuizen and Haotong Li are the 16/1 joint third favourites. Oosthuizen should always contend around this track with the quality of his long game and I’m surprised he hasn’t won this tournament yet. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off him but Haotong Li is a different story. His final round meltdown and while I hate to use the term, his play-off choke in Turkey last week was such that I wouldn’t want to be on him at a relatively short price.

Defending champion Branden Grace comes next in the betting at 18/1. He is another one who should always be contending in this tournament because he has a great all-round game. It was clearly a big thing for him when he won last year so defending the title with all the attention and spotlight on him in the lead up to the off might just be beyond him.


Main Bets

Lee Westwood knows how to win around here and while he won the tournament when it was a selected invitation tournament he won’t have forgotten how to play it. It has been a while since Westwood won a European Tour event but he was sixth here last year and there are encouraging snippets of form from him too. He has finished in the top 12 in three of his previous six starts and ran well in Italy earlier in the year too. He hasn’t lost anything from tee to green so if he can find some form on the greens he should contend again here.

Joost Luiten was in brilliant form at the beginning of the year and then he picked up a wrist injury which he is just coming back from. He has played in two tournaments finishing just outside the top 10 at Valderrama and another creditable effort in Turkey last week. Luiten is one of the best on the European Tour from tee to green and the statistics since his return suggest he hasn’t lost any of that. His touch on and around the greens will come and if it comes this week he could be a leading contender here.

Outsiders

Thomas Aiken is coming into form nicely having finished in the top 20 in his last two tournaments with his tee to green nous very much assisting him in those results and that strength should see him go well around here too. Aiken showed in the Nordea Masters that he can run strong in a decent field and he should really have won the tournament there. He will have the home crowds and comforts on his side this week and a three figure price is just too big to ignore.

Max Kieffer has a top five finish at Valderrama on his CV this season and if you can go well around there you should be able to go well here too. The German might take some inspiration from Martin Kaymer’s good performance last week and he is perfectly suited to this track. He doesn’t miss many fairways or greens so if he can roll some putts in he should not be too far away. He is another who is priced sufficiently to take a chance on.

Tips

WON – Back L.Westwood to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 36.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-6)

Back M.Kieffer to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 151.00 with Betfred (1/5 1-6)

Back them here:

Back J.Luiten to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 34.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-6)

Back T.Aiken to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 101.00 with Boylesports (1/5 1-6)

Back them here:

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2 Comments on "2018 Nedbank Golf Challenge – Tournament Outright Betting Preview"

  1. What a great call on Westwood Kev. Good placing on Furyk in Mexico and bad luck with Ancer after a bright start not to mention Kim just missing out on a place. Hats off to the King

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