Nedbank Golf Challenge Fantasy Preview

The Euro Tour heads to South Africa for this week’s Nedbank.

The course is a 7,800+ yard beast of a track that is slightly tamed due to playing in 3,700 feet of altitude. Looking further, it’s a par 72 with bentgrass greens. With six par 4s over 450 yards and all four par 3s over 200 yards, long iron play will be crucial.

Looking at course lengths, grass types, location, difficulty, etc. the following events showed up as possible pointers: Alfred Dunhill Championship (Leopard Creek), BMW PGA Championship, DP World Tour Championship, Qatar Masters, Czech Masters, and the Lyoness Open.

On top of those correlated courses, I will also venture through the record books to see who has the most success on the following angles…

Spoiler Alert: A certain South African might have the best course fit of anyone since I’ve started doing these top-10 lists.

Top Performers on Bentgrass Greens (since 2015)

Francesco Molinari
Alex Noren
Bernd Wiesberger
Soren Kjeldsen
Branden Grace
Chris Wood
Martin Kaymer
Tyrrell Hatton
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Ross Fisher

Top Performers in Africa (since 2015)

Charl Schwartzel
Branden Grace
Dean Burmester
Victor Dubuisson
George Coetzee
Paul Dunne
Anthony Wall
Jeunghun Wang
Alex Noren
Alexander Bjork

Top Performers against Strong Fields (since 2015)

Branden Grace
Francesco Molinari
Bernd Wiesberger
Tyrrell Hatton
Alex Noren
Martin Kaymer
Chris Wood
Ross Fisher
Soren Kjeldsen
Rafa Cabrera Bello

Top Performers in the Fall (since 2015)

Tyrrell Hatton
Chris Wood
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Soren Kjeldsen
Victor Dubuisson
Bernd Wiesberger
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
Branden Grace
Tommy Fleetwood
Charl Schwartzel

Top Performers on Par 72s (since 2015)

Branden Grace
Bernd Wiesberger
Alex Noren
Chris Wood
Francesco Molinari
Tyrrell Hatton
Martin Kaymer
Ross Fisher
Charl Schwartzel
Soren Kjeldsen

Top Performers on Long Courses (since 2015)

Branden Grace
Jeunghun Wang
Alex Noren
Ross Fisher
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Bernd Wiesberger
Rafa Cabrera Bello
Victor Dubuisson
Chris Wood
Charl Schwartzel

Top Performers on Correlated Courses (since 2015)

Branden Grace
Chris Wood
Joost Luiten
Francesco Molinari
Charl Schwartzel
Alex Noren
Bernd Wiesberger
Soren Kjeldsen
Matthew Fitzpatrick
Andy Sullivan

Golfers that show up on all SEVEN lists: Branden Grace

Golfers that show up on 6-of-7 lists: Alex Noren, Bernd Wiesberger, Chris Wood

Golfers that show up on 5-of-7 lists: Charl Schwartzel, Soren Kjeldsen

Golfers that show up on 4-of-7 lists: Tyrrell Hatton, Francesco Molinari, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Ross Fisher

My Top 25 for the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge

1. Branden Grace
2. Chris Wood
3. Tyrrell Hatton
4. Soren Kjeldsen
5. Bernd Wiesberger
6. Ross Fisher
7. Francesco Molinari
8. Matthew Fitzpatrick
9. Alex Noren
10. Charl Schwartzel
11. Ian Poulter
12. Kiradech Aphibarnrat
13. Tommy Fleetwood
14. Rafa Cabrera Bello
15. Shane Lowry
16. Paul Dunne
17. Martin Kaymer
18. Julian Suri
19. Thorbjorn Olesen
20. Peter Uihlein
21. Lee Westwood
22. Richard Sterne
23. Nicolas Colsaerts
24. Joost Luiten
25. Jeunghun Wang

This article has 10 comments

      • Yeah…I feel like Sterne or Coetzee could win an Open, but not likely. SA is due for another superstar with Top 10 staying power who could emerge. Although I wish I had Louis Oosthuizen’s swing. He could make another run to the Top 5.

        Reply
        • Yup, the thing is Grace is the only one that qualifies for all four majors each year which puts him at a big advantage to begin with. Plus he’s the best of the bunch. I could see Coetzee or Frittelli sneaking into contention though, maybe even Porteous if he keeps developing.

          Reply
          • Yeah Haydn looks the part psyically, he is a brick house. I know this out of left field, but Ryan Ruffels really flashed to me…when I saw in a SpEx. I say he can speak up to 225 in OWGR. I think he good. When is Jordan going to play again? As a golf historian/junkie I say he gets to about 55 wins barring injury. I believe he will win a major after 50 and win a tournament after 55 on the PGA tour. Obvious legend of the game…play translates into late age a la Bernard Langer. He’s got that cliche “it”. WDYT? I know I babble…but you’re alright, I don’t care what they say about you, lol.

            Reply
            • Good call of Ruffels even if it’s out of left field. Everyone who plays a practice round with him says he’s the real deal. Just needs to find a way to lock up Status and then I think his best golf might come out. Reminds me of Thomas Pieters where everyone says he could become World No. 1 eventually.

              I can’t disagree on Spieth. I think the Hero will be his name start then prolly ToC and/or Pebble. I could also see Spieth Getty fully immersed with his family if/when he gets married and has kids. So hard to predict that far into the future due to thinks like that but he definitely had the IT factor. Not Information Technology.

              Reply
              • If I was boss bookie in the casino…I would set a O/U on his career wins @44.5…..seems fair along the line of Lefty. Majors at 14.5 to entice two way action off of Tiger’s mark. Oldest win on tour 53.5….I really see him game aging so well…he hasn’t nearly hit his prime as a ball-striker. But him and all of the legends recover so freaking well. Jack was talking about that recently, about if he tightens up his driving and decision making…he could have a driving number of 13. Nicklaus was like #10 in distance and #3 in accuracy. Nobody will ever approach that. What do you say Josh…equivalent of hitting .400. Imagine if Speith was about 40 or so.

                Reply
  1. In 1986 on the previous comment. But who knows…with that being the first year of the OWGR…maybe Jack or Snead went in the single digits, at some point. My grandpa and his brother were chairmen for Royal Crown and played in a foursome with Sam in ’71 @ the Old White. My grandpa said he (Snead) hit 12/14 or so and he was striping it 265 or so at 58 or 59 yrs. at the time. He putted side-saddle and shot a 68. My pops shot 74 that day at 42 yrs. and its one of his great memories still at 89… Has met a lot of West Virginia sports heroes over the years. Apparently he says I may be loosely related to Brooks Koepka / Dick Groat clan…but its thru marriage. Yeah my family are sports fanatics.

    Reply
    • That’s pretty cool.

      I don’t think it’s possible for someone to be Top 20 in both distance and accuracy with current scheduling. There are more golfers to compete with that have TOUR cards each year and more events to pick and choose from. There are certain golfers that play a schedule that would sway their stats in favor or distance or accuracy. If you played Kapalua, TPC Deere Run, Sea Island, and Pebble then you’re accuracy percentage shoots way up. However, most of the bombers don’t play those events so they are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to cracking the top 50 let alone top 20 in accuracy.

      Guys like Hideki, Casey, Fowler, and Keegan come to mind when it comes to elite in both distance and accuracy. It’s really impossible to try to compare cross-generations though.

      Reply
      • Agreed with the impossibility of accomplishing that low of a driving number as an amateur historian…I love doing that. I’m in 1st in a little 25 dollar euro triple up…even with Southgate WDing. 10/27 in the contest had a WD. Unusual. Good luck with your teams…I saw you were eating for the time being. Imma set up a weekend game for Mayakoba, if you catch it…Glad you like the name by the way…Dana Holgorsen cracks me up with his vaudeville sideline mannerisms and he can coach some offense. Love my boys Grier and Sills V.

        Reply

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