Nedbank Golf Challenge: Keep faith in Fleetwood
Sun City hosts the penultimate event of the European Tour this season, with Tommy Fleetwood desperate to extend his lead at the top of the Race to Dubai, Phil Casey writes.
Fleetwood looked home and dry a few weeks ago with nearest rivals Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm not going out of their way to catch him, but Justin Rose had other ideas.
Rose was a distant 10th on the money list before banking more than 2.4million points with victories in China and Turkey to slash Fleetwood’s lead to just 134,839.
The good news for Fleetwood is that Rose, after some thought, has stuck with his schedule and will not contest the Nedbank Golf Challenge, meaning Fleetwood is guaranteed to increase his lead in the 72-man event which has no halfway cut.
And although the 26-year-old was unable to come good for us when tipped in Turkey last week, Fleetwood is worth sticking with at a tough venue which should suit his accuracy off the tee and into the green.
Fleetwood is top of the greens in regulation category and seventh in driving accuracy, two key attributes at the Gary Player Country Club course where he improved round on round in finishing 14th last year. Fleetwood is the first of our Nedbank Golf Challenge betting predictions at odds of 18/1.
Next up is fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell, whose rich vein of form sees him make his debut in the event a year after battling to regain his card at the qualifying school.
Pepperell has gone from strength to strength this season and boasts six top-10 finishes in his last seven events, so hopefully that final piece of the jigsaw will click into place here at odds of 33/1.
Keeping with the theme of in-form players, Turkish Airlines runner-up Nicolas Colsaerts is perhaps surprisingly available at 40/1 as he looks to end a five-year victory drought in Sun City.
Colsaerts held a four-shot lead at halfway in Antalya and although he struggled to a third round of 73, the big-hitting Belgian bounced back superbly in the final round before being unable to convert a birdie chance on the 72nd hole to force a play-off.
Reverting to an old shaft and changing the head on his driver has done wonders for Colsaerts’ confidence off the tee and it would not be a surprise to see him contend again.
And at a more speculative price in the Nedbank Golf Challenge betting, France’s Benjamin Hebert – a six-time Challenge Tour winner – is ranked inside the top 10 for greens in regulation this season and could reward a small bet in the outright market at 200/1 or 16/1 for a top-10 finish.
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