Nedbank Challenge Tips & Betting Preview
Oddschecker's golf guru had picks in the places last week - He's got four at Sun City.
Sun City has long been a tour stop since my childhood and always holds memories of a hard fought battle between a limited field for some end of tour dollars. Nowadays it is totally different with over 70 players teeing it up and it being an integral part of the final few furlongs of the Race To Dubai. It may not have turned out as the tour wanted it this year with the top two in the standings swerving this event.
Maybe a few tweaks will take place in the format / schedule over the next few years to try stop this from happening once again. Nevertheless we have a super field turn up for this years renewal headed by Irishman Rory McIlroy and his Ryder Cup teammate Sergio Garcia.
Hitting greens here is the obvious marker for scoring down the years and I don't expect this year to be any different. Upon winning last year Grace ranked joint 2nd in GIR alongside runner up Scott Jamieson. Dubuisson who tucked in behind in 3rd topped the GIR standings. The year before Noren lifted the trophy whilst topping GIR.
McIlroy's price of around $9 could look very tasty come the end of the week should he play anywhere near his ability however it is difficult to get too enthusiastic about his prospects. His lacklustre, tired performance in Sheshan spelt out a lack of desire somewhat.
Heading to Dubai next week will surely get his juices flowing and I'll be very interested to see his price there given he putts very well on those greens. This week is probably best left alone though. Garcia looks a much better betting prospect around a pt higher given how he dominated in Spain a few weeks ago. He won twice here in the early 2000s but has only featured in 2 of the last 11 stagings here.
That is a shade worrying for me given he is a multiple course winner that he hasn't played a ton at it in the last decade and it is enough to put me off getting involved at single figures.
LUCAS BJERREGAARD (best price $23) placed for us last week in Turkey and every part of his game is in good working order. Last week he ranked 9th in DD, 5th for DA and 3rd for GIR. That is incredible consistency and bar a slow start last week he could have been champion. He played better golf as conditions got tougher last week which will suit for this weeks tougher test.
The Dane lies 51st in the world rankings on the precipice of a lot of big exemptions. His power game is becoming a force on the European Tour and there is a theory that he could be on the verge of something special and becoming one of the best European golfers in the game. Lucas marched to 5th spot last week on the bridle and if he arrives with a similar game he may prove tough to beat.
I was surprised to see $40-$50 floating about for MATT WALLACE (best price $41) this week and given his nature to play well on tracks that require a good tee to green game he has to be of interest. Before winning in Denmark he finished 36th in a low grade Czech Masters.
Prior to winning the BMW he missed the cut at the US Open and placed 51st in Italy. Similar uninspiring form lead into his win in India also so recent average performances are of no proper concern as we head to Sun City. Motivation for many may be thin on the ground with the Race To Dubai all but done and dusted but again Wallace is one of those with a lot to play for.
He has three wins in the last 8 months so quotes upwards of $51 look super on face value. Of course that isn't everything but nevertheless he has been a shade inconsistent and can land a win at any point. On a tee to green track I think he is worth supporting.
Some juicier prices on DANNY WILLETT (best price $34) have disappeared but for me still looks like one of the more probable winners and must be part of our staking plan this week. He is hitting the ball extremely well and his consistency from the tee should provide him with ample opportunities to make enough birdies to contend here. He was close last week and every week seems to be a learning process.
It has been a huge fall from grace from 11th in the world to the lowly point of currently 274. That won't last for long though and we are likely to see a Tiger Woods like rise up the rankings in 2019. 11-4-WIN are last three starts here and positive vibes should be flowing. When he was flying a couple of years ago his tee to green game was his big strength and he is heading back in that direction. I can't see him too far down the leaderboard this week.
RYAN FOX (best price $56) tee to green game has been in superb nick all season ranking 4th in SG TTG, and 11th in GIR. This is the exact game we are looking for and with a top 25 last week in Turkey it all bodes well for a solid performance here this week.
He hasn't quite lived up to my expectations yet but I do feel that is only around the corner and with many at the top little in the way to play for in terms of the Race To Dubai, Fox can be looked to as one of those who has plenty of incentives.
Sitting 86th in the world doesn't do this man justice and he will be looking to get into the worlds top 50 soon enough. The next two weeks provide a good opportunity to get closer and the Gary Player course should suit the New Zealander with his tall ball flight approaching greens.