One can put a line through all bar 10 golfers in the Nedbank Golf Challenge field because not since 1986 has a debutant won the event at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
Mark McNulty was the last golfer to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge on his maiden appearance in the highly lucrative tournament and, if one believes that there is merit in following trends, one only needs to investigate the claims of Luke Donald, Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Henrik Stenson and Richard Sterne.
Last season’s Race To Dubai winner Henrik Stenson is the Nedbank Golf Challenge favourite at top odds of 4.33 with Youwin. Stenson ticks a lot of Nedbank Golf Challenge boxes as one would expect of the world’s number three golfer who is in career-best form. Stenson’s last start resulted in him winning the DP World Tour Championship and, while the Swede has not competed in any of the last three editions of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, his four appearances have seen him finish first, second twice and fourth. Even in small fields, Stenson’s Nedbank Golf Challenge numbers are impressive and, with many of the Swede’s fellow tournament alumni known for not winning out of turn, his odds of 4.33 are more than acceptable. One of the keys to mastering the Gary Player Country Club track is length off the tee and, last term, Stenson ranked 12th on the European Tour for driving distance with an average big hit of 301.2 yards.
In the Nedbank Golf Challenge no golfer other Stenson has a sufficiently strong case to support a win wager. However, there are Nedbank Golf Challenge match bets to consider along with a tournament punt on the quality favourite.
Els is a Nedbank Golf Challenge veteran and he has winning form, going back to back in 1999 and 2000 and taking out the title again in 2002. Various bookmakers have framed Nedbank Golf Challenge match bets featuring Els, with the Big Easy against, among others, Thomas Bjorn, Brendon de Jonge and Jamie Donaldson. Bjorn, De Jonge and Donaldson are making their Nedbank Golf Challenge debuts so they are the golfers who may struggle to keep pace with Els in Sun City.
De Jonge is South African so one would prefer not to oppose him since South African golfers tend to perform well in their home country. Donaldson’s last three starts have resulted in three top-eight finishes, which is not what one wants to see in a match bet opponent. So that leaves Bjorn, who did finish second last time out but who has a tendency to be good one week and poor the next. So back Els at odds of 1.73 with Spreadex to beat Bjorn in the Nedbank Golf Challenge. The experience of Els should be worth a lot.
Kaymer is the defending Nedbank Golf Challenge champion so one could do worse than support the German in a match bet. None of the Nedbank Golf Challenge novices have been paired with Kaymer so one has to choose between Donald, Garcia and Rose. Garcia won the 2003 Nedbank Golf Challenge so one may prefer to oppose either Donald or Rose. Donald and Rose have competed in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in years when it was limited to 12 golfers so their averaging finishing positions of 7.4th and 7.8th respectively are informative. For the record, Kaymer boasts a Nedbank Golf Challenge average finishing position of fourth. Kaymer is trading at odds of 2.30 with Bet365 to defeat Rose in the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the German is available at odds of 1.95 with Spreadex to get the better of Donald in Sun City. Factor in recent results as well and backing Kaymer to edge out Rose is the most attractive option featuring the German.