THE seventh Rolex Series event and penultimate tournament of the season takes place at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City, South Africa.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge was first played in 1981 when Johnny Miller won and took home a cheque for $500,000. It was a 12-man invitational event right up to 2013 when it became a co-sanctioned Sunshine and European Tour event.
The par 72, 7831-yard Gary Player parkland course is set in an extinct volcano (well hopefully extinct). It has narrow Kikuyu fairways and rough which can be hard to play out of. I think Driving Accuracy, GIR and Scrambling could be the stats here.
One man who stands out for me here is Matthew Fitzpatrick. Since winning the Omega European Masters in September the Englishman has been in a rich vein of form.
I selected him last week and he was playing well but not well enough although he did hit a final-round 68. When he won the Omega European at Crans that was at altitude, the same as this week, and with his accuracy and high GIR he is certainly a good fit here.
Another fact I’ve read is three of the last four winners at Crans had also won here. Also last week in Turkey his putting showed great improvement and he was fifth for putting average. Taking all that into consideration he looks a really strong selection. Driving Accuracy: 65.4% (5th), GIR: 70.7% (16th), Scrambling: 58.5% (62nd)
When Jordan Smith won the Porsche European Open in July it was expected he would continue on the upward spiral. To finish T9 in the US Open at Quail Hollow a week after his European Open win was a brilliant result for the young Englishman.
Unfortunately he couldn’t keep up that form and has been languishing a bit of late. Then again if you look at his stats they all point to to his game being in a good place. A small wager on him might pay some good dividends. Driving Accuracy: 67.7% (13th). GIR: 70.4% (21st).Scrambling: 60.2% (12th).