2023 Nedbank Golf Challenge Preview, Picks & Analysis
Unsurprisingly, there is a star-studded field gathering at Sun City this week for the Nedbank Challenge, the penultimate event in the 2022-23 DP World Tour season.
Tommy Fleetwood will be looking to cap a fine season by winning this tournament for the third time. The Englishman loves this golf course and will genuinely fancy his chances. He has gone close several times this year, none more so than at the Canadian Open, where he lost in a playoff.
Among those looking to deny Fleetwood will be his Ryder Cup teammates Robert MacIntyre and Nicolai Hojgaard.
The pair formed part of Luke Donald’s triumphant European Team at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club last month, both contributing points towards the stunning 16½ - 11½ victory in Rome.
Hojgaard and MacIntyre will join teammates Fleetwood and Justin Rose, as well as American pair Max Homa and Justin Thomas, in the field at Gary Player Country Club as ‘Africa’s Major’ returns for its 41st edition in Sun City.
The $6m event is the penultimate tournament on the 2023 DP World Tour schedule, carrying an increased number of Race to Dubai Ranking Points as the 66-man field vies for a place in the season-ending DP World Tour Championship.
Hojgaard, who will be joined by twin brother and four-time DP World Tour winner Rasmus in South Africa, is aiming for a strong finish to the year as he looks to climb the Race to Dubai Rankings.
“South Africa is such a special place to play golf and I am really looking forward to heading back to Sun City next month,” Hojgaard said.
“The people are so friendly and the golf course is amazing, so it’s always a fun week. Being able to play a tournament which Gary Player is associated with is an honour and something we all relish.
“I’ve had a pretty consistent year and hopefully I can finish it off over the next few weeks with some more good results.”
Scotsman MacIntyre has also enjoyed a superb season with a host of top 10s, including a second place at the Genesis Scottish Open, and he would love nothing more than to secure a third DP World Tour win.
“I came close to winning in Scotland earlier this year but that is about as close as I’ve come, so I’d love to go one further and get another win under my belt,” he said.
“I always enjoy going down to Sun City and competing against a quality field. It’s such a great setting and I played well on my debut in 2019, so hopefully I can draw on those memories this year and give it a good go.
“Gary Player is an icon of our game so to have his name associated with this event can only be a good thing. We’re all grateful for his support of this event and I can’t wait to return next month.”
One of the few successes for the USA at the Ryder Cup was Homa, and he is also making the trip to South Africa. And you can be certain that he is not doing so simply to make up the numbers.
Homa is a class act. He won the season-opening Fortinet Championship and also claimed the Farmers Insurance Open. But there have also been a host of other great finishes, including tied third at the Tournament of Champions, second at the Genesis, tied sixth at the FedEx St Jude, tied fifth at the BMW Championship, tied ninth at the Tour Championship and tied seventh at the Fortinet.
He is a terrific ball striker, possesses a great short game and has a wonderful temperament - and he would love to win his third title of the season.
The Nedbank Golf Challenge has been a highlight of the South African sporting calendar since its first edition in 1981, with defending champion Fleetwood among a glittering list of winners including South African golfing icon Ernie Els - a three-time winner of the event - the legendary Seve Ballesteros, and major champions Bernhard Langer, Ian Woosnam, Sir Nick Faldo, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and Danny Willett.
The Gary Player Country Club can be stretched to more than 7,800 yards. It opened in 1979 and has hosted the Nedbank Callenge since the tournament’s inception in 1981. It features many clover-shaped greens protected by well-placed bunkers. It is a spectacular golf course, with the Pilanesberg Mountains as a backdrop.
It was won in 2015 by Marc Leishman, in 2016 by Alex Noren, in 2017 by Branden Grace, in 2018 by Lee Westwood and in 2019 and 2022 by Tommy Fleetwood. It wasn’t played in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.
Tommy Fleetwood is looking to win for the third time in a row who has found a way to balance life on both the PGA Tour and DP World Tour. He nearly won the Canadian Open, finished tied fifth at the US Open, tied 10th at The Open, tied third at the FedEx St Jude and tied sixth at the Tour Championship. And Max Homa is a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season and was one of the few success stories for the USA at the Ryder Cup.
Tommy Fleetwood. Loves this course
Adrian Meronk. Has no weaknesses
Max Homa. World-class
Five to Follow:
Tommy Fleetwood. Looking for three in a row
Adrian Meronk. Brilliant ball striker
Max Homa. Having a stellar year
Robert MacIntyre. Course is made for him
Nicolai Hojgaard. The real deal
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