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Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted By Gary Player

Bigger Contests  and Bigger Prizes

Before I get started with this weeks write up I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage you to start reserving or entering line ups as early as possible. There are two reasons why I ask you to do this, first of all Euro contests are gradually becoming more and more popular, with more players taking interest those contests are filling up quickly and there’s nothing more frustrating than missing out when a line up lands (trust me it’s annoying, it happened to me last week and I missed out big time). Secondly and more importantly we need to start showing that demand for Bigger Contest and Bigger Prizes. Obviously the PGA tour dominates the vast amount of spend within fantasy golf in Draft Kings however a percentage of that is influenced by the lack of potential return in Euro Contests. If Draft Kings start to see that demand for Euro run events they will have but little choice to supply us with better contests to play in and attract a wider audience.

I would also encourage you to send direct emails to there customer service team expressing desire for Bigger Contest and Better Prizes, the more noise we make the more they listen. I contacted them very recently and got some reassuring responses.. Now I’m now stupid enough to think things could change immediately but I certainly hope that next season they introduce a better structure, especially in big events like our Rolex series events.

Re-Cap from Turkey

A really solid week, yet another winner and runner up picked with JR getting the job done going back to back and Colsaerts narrowly missing out. Amongst the picks there were plenty of others that were in touching distance on Sunday and thankfully we had a healthy showing within the top 10. All in all very pleased with how my picks performed and even happier with how they paid me back in the form of a small gpp win and plenty of well placed pay outs in larger contests like the ‘Fore’. Anyway with that said my confidence is high going into the next event and I have certainly spent the time delving deep in to research to help that form continue.

Next Up

For the penultimate event of the season the European Tour head back to South Africa for the 5th time this year, but this time to compete for the Nedbank Golf Challenge, hosted by Gary Player and played on the Gary Player Country Club Course. This is once again an event that Rolex have been more than happy to sponsor and with that, as with all the events prior it brings the best about out to play but this time to compete for a slightly increased prize fund of $7,500,000

The Course

Frequently voted as the best course in South Africa this is one destination I would love to visit if ever the chance came about. The 7,831 yard par 72 layout designed by Gary Player at Sun City is set within a volcanic crater and surrounded by the natural beauty of Pilanesberg National Park. Not only can you expect to see incredible golf here but were often graced by the presence of the local wildlife and I have no doubt there will be plenty of David Attenborough still moments to savour as well whilst watching the coverage.

Although this is the second longest course on tour this year and has extremely receptive fairways, it does sit over a 1,000 meters above sea level. That added altitude and warmer air were forecast for will help the ball travel much further and bring all of the lengthy holes into score-able opportunities for the entire field. It will also mean that the bigger hitters will on occasion be forced to take less of the tee to find position.

Key to playing this course is quite simple, keep the ball in play at all costs, venture to far off line and it could be more than a ball you lose in the jungle. Play the correct club off the tee to avoid the bunkers, no need to bomb it everywhere if you have a solid mid iron game. Hit as many greens in regulation as you can and stay patient… The birdies will come and in there abundance if your rolling the ball well on these greens.

The Field

Although were missing a chunk of the global superstars (Rose, Garcia, Stenson, McIlroy etc) we still have an extremely good field lined up for this event. The toughest part other than trying to find time to complete the write up itself has been trying to narrow down those picks… There is so much good form on offer and so many players that then tick the boxes for course fit I could of produced a list of 25 who I think could contend.. Anyway after plenty of pondering and added research I have somehow got that list down to 13 (although I would seriously consider both Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrell Hatton, I will be having a small sprinkle of both these players. Don’t want to be the fool that misses out if there on a hot week)

Key stats and Strategy

Par 5 Scoring – With this again being a reduced field and no cut event it is crucial that your players score well with birdie or better points. Nearly 50% of the birdies made on this course in previous years have come from its 4 par 5’s.

Ball striking – Although bigger hitter have an advantage on this layout especially with those par 5’s, it has proven to be more important to avoid bogeys and find greens in regulation to stay competitive. Playing at altitude takes care of the distance issues and a player who creates plenty of chances should find themselves sniffing around for a big pay day.

Playing at Altitude – There are players out there that really adapt well to playing at altitude and that couldn’t be more clearly displayed when looking at the form of these players at locations like Mexico, Switzerland and the 3 other high altitude locations in South Africa.

Course Fit and Form – Rather than look to much into history which can be massively misleading if looking further back when the field was considerably smaller than what it currently is. It may serve better to look at a players course fit and there form.. We have seen many debut visiting wins at this venue and a high percentage of the field will be playing this event for the first time.

Hot Putter – Look for those that seem to be rolling the ball in for fun, the surfaces at this course are pure and we should see a good number of putts made from longer distances. especially on the Par 4’s and 3’s where getting the ball close to the hole can prove to be difficult.

My Picks

$10,000 +

Branden Grace $10,300

$9,000 – $10,000

Matthew Fitzpatrick $9,900

Peter Uihlien $9,100

Ian Poulter $9,000

$8,000 – $9,000

Thorbjorn Olesen $8,900

Kiradech Aphibarnrat $8,600

Ross Fisher $8,500

Eddie Pepperell $8,300

$7,000 – $8,000

Paul Dunne $7,900

Nicolas Colsaerts $7,600

Fabrizio Zanotti $7,500

Dylan Frittelli $7,500

Dean Burmester £7,000

As I mentioned earlier I will also have a little sprinkle of Hatton and Fleetwood just in case either one gets it going.

 

Junkie Jargon

Ever catch yourself wondering what in the world the guys are talking about? The Junkie Jargon glossary lays it all out for you.

Shark

An experienced or professional player with a successful history in DFS.