Nedbank Golf Challenge 2023 – Tournament Outright Tips and Betting Preview

It is the penultimate week of the DP World Tour season and the opener to the final stage of the Race to Dubai as those who have qualified for the last part of the campaign head to South Africa for the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Tommy Fleetwood successfully defended the title a year ago and he will head back to Sun City looking to complete the three-peat. With no meaningful action across the pond this week some big players are on show.

Recent Winners

2022 – Tommy Fleetwood

2019 – Tommy Fleetwood

2018 – Lee Westwood

2017 – Branden Grace

2016 – Alex Noren

2015 – Marc Leishman

2014 – Danny Willett

2013 – Thomas Bjorn

2012 – Martin Kaymer

2011 – Lee Westwood

The Course

The famous Gary Player Country Club hosts the tournament as ever this week. The Sun City track is a bit of a brute given that it is a par 72 which measures no less than 7,819 yards. That sounds pretty serious but we are at altitude this week so although the course is long it never plays to that sort of yardage, especially with conditions being firm and fast as always.

The course plays pretty tight and despite its long yardage it is accuracy which is the more important, especially greens in regulation. The greens here have plenty of slopes and false fronts so pinpoint iron play rarely goes unrewarded. Clearly it is easier to hit precise iron shots from the fairway so there is a real emphasis on the tee to green game. A warm putter is never a bad thing around here either.

The Field

We have half a dozen members of the top 50 in the world rankings here this week with Max Homa the leading challenger. He is the sole top 10 player in the field at eight in the world, seven ahead of the next best in the defending champion Tommy Fleetwood who is at 15. The other four top 50 players are the BMW PGA Championship winner Ryan Fox, Justin Rose, Justin Thomas and the man who has already won in Italy this season in Adrian Meronk.

The race for the Race to Dubai title is very much on and four other members of the top 10 in the standings will be looking to bolster their position heading into the finale. Victor Perez begins the week in fifth in those standings and tees it up here as do seventh ranked Sami Valimaki, eighth placed Robert MacIntyre and ninth in Alexander Bjork. Vincent Norrman is just outside the top 10 and looking for a big week too.

Market Leaders

Tommy Fleetwood clearly loves it at Sun City having won the last two stagings of this tournament either side of the pandemic and he is the 7/1 favourite to keep hold of the title again this week. This field feels a bit better than the ones he has beaten to win this title but he is certainly well suited to the course and has been showing improved form throughout the year. He’s a little short for me and I’m no fan of taking defending champions anyway but it wouldn’t be the greatest surprise if he wins again.

Max Homa is the highest ranked player in the field and is 8/1 to convert his ranking into the trophy. It is never the easiest thing to do to turn up to a course for the first time and win on it, especially when there is plenty to be said for course experience here and a number of players who have plenty of it, but Homa tends to play his best golf in California and apart from the altitude the conditions in Sun City aren’t too dissimilar to that part of the world. He’s a chance but he’s too short for me as a debutant.

Ryan Fox has already won the BMW PGA Championship this season and he was the closest challenger to Tommy Fleetwood here a year ago so he certainly merits more than a second look at a course where he can use his length to his advantage. He is a perfectly fair price at 16/1 and comes here in decent form with three top three finishes in his last five starts. One concern would be that in 16 rounds on this course, apart from a freaky looking 64 to open up last year, he has only broken 70 once so maybe he was flattered by his end result last year.

Justin Thomas is the other player in the field who is shorter than 20/1 and the American is 16/1 to win on debut. There is no doubting the class of Thomas and at his best he is a top 10 player in the world all day long but he hasn’t been at his best for some time and you wonder whether a course which can play very tough in certain conditions will bring his form around. He is on debut here which is another negative and he’s the first in the betting that I have absolutely no interest in.

Main Bets

Jordan Smith finished second in the Open de France six weeks ago and fifth in Qatar last time out and he has the profile to go well on this course. He is very strong off the tee and leads the DP World Tour in greens in regulation which is so much of the test around here. He is fairly long and reliable with the driver which is the other tick box on this course and I’m encouraged by his top 15 finish here a year ago, which would have been much better but for a dodgy opening round. Smith won the Portugal Masters around this time last year with an emphatic -30 score and if he can find half of that this week he’ll be in with every chance.

Matt Wallace is a winner on the PGA Tour this year when he won in the Dominican Republic and since then he has done all but win on the DP World Tour but I think he is a leading runner here. He has three top 10 finishes in his last six starts on the DP World Tour including in his last two tournaments where he was sixth in the Dunhill Links and ninth at the Qatar Masters. Wallace was second at the Omega European Masters last year which tells us that he can handle the altitude and he has finished fifth here in the past too. His game looks to be in excellent touch and I think he’s overpriced at 40/1.


I’ll go with a couple of outsiders this week with the first of those coming in the form of Hennie du Plessis, the home player who should like conditions. He ranks pretty well on the DP World Tour when it comes to hitting greens and he already has two top 10 finishes in South Africa on the DP World Tour this season. The South African was in the top 15 of a couple of decent field recent events in the BMW PGA Championship and the Dunhill Links in the last couple of months and on a track where conditions should suit I think he can get in the mix at 66/1.

The other player I like is the man who won on arguably the toughest course on the DP World Tour at present at the Porsche European Open in Tom McKibbin. McKibbin felt like a winner in waiting given his intense power game and if he can win there he will fancy his chances here. He ranks pretty high on greens in regulation on the DP World Tour this season and we know he is more than long enough to tame the beast that is the Gary Player Country Club. The Northern Irishman comes in here off the back of a T14 at the Dunhill Links and T9 in Qatar last time out. What really catches the eye even though he is on debut here is he has four top 20 finishes in events in South Africa this season and at altitude in the European Masters he finished with a 62 there. He feels like a danger here.


Back J.Smith to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 29.00 with Spreadex (1/5 1-6)

Back M.Wallace to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 41.00 with Betway (1/5 1-6)

Back H.du Plessis to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 67.00 with Sky Bet (1/5 1-6)

Back T.McKibbin to win Nedbank Golf Challenge (e/w) for a 0.5/10 stake at 71.00 with William Hill (1/5 1-6)

Back him here: