Home Sport Here are 5 players to watch at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

Here are 5 players to watch at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

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The tournament tees off after a two-year absence at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City on Thursday, and Tommy Fleetwood will have his work cut out to lift the trophy once more.

George Coetzee heads into the NGC off the back of a three-stroke victory in the Sunshine Tour’s PGA Championship at St Francis Links last week. Picture: EJ Langner, Sunshine Tour

Centurion – The Nedbank Challenge returns for the first time since 2019, and the top contenders will be led by defending champion Tommy Fleetwood.

The tournament tees off after a two-year absence at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City on Thursday, and Fleetwood will have his work cut out to lift the trophy once more. Here are five players who could be in the mix for the title come Sunday.

1. Tommy Fleetwood

As the defending champion, the odds are against the 31-year-old Englishman. In the previous 39 editions of the NGC, there have only been six players to successfully defend their title.

The players are Seve Ballesteros (1983, 1984), David Frost (1989, 1990), Nick Price (1997, 1998), Ernie Els (1999, 2000), Jim Furyk (2005, 2006) and Lee Westwood (2010, 2011).

2. Branden Grace

The local challenge could well be led by Branden Grace. Grace was the last South African to lift the trophy in 2017.

It will also be the first time Grace returns to play an event co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour (DPWT) since he joined the Saudi-funded LIV Golf series.

The 34-year-old Grace was the top SA player on the LIV Golf Series as he earned a whopping R304,028,130 from the six events he completed – he had to withdraw from the Bangkok event due to injury.

3. Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Having played four events on the new US PGA Tour season, the 28-year-old has a best finish of 20th but already, and impressively, ranks first in strokes gained around the green. His short game will be particularly important at a testing Gary Player Country Club, and could make him one of the favourites this week.

In fact, Bezuidenhout also won the SA Open on the same course when it was held there in November 2020.

4. George Coetzee

The two-time Sunshine Tour Order of Merit winner heads into the NGC on the back of a three-stroke victory in the Sunshine Tour’s PGA Championship at St Francis Links last week.

“The confidence I take from beating the field here is a big boost and I’m generally pretty happy with the swing that has shown up for the last couple of weeks,” Coetzee said.

5. Ryan Fox

The New Zealander is ranked 26th in the world and has been incredibly consistent on the DP World Tour this season, as he finds himself second on the Race to Dubai.

The 35-year-old is clearly in the best form of his life, with two of his three DP World Tour victories coming this season. In fact, he began the year ranked 213th in the world and in addition to his two wins he has also finished second three times.

@Golfhackno1

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