Nedbank Golf Challenge Betting Tips
Robert Cobley is a maths graduate with years of experience in the sports betting industry. He has now teamed up with Bet UK to bring his golf betting tips to our readers.
The Gary Player Country Club - Sun City, South Africa - Par 72, 7,827 Yards
The European Tour Finals Series continues this week at the beautiful Gary Player Country Club near the city of Pretoria in South Africa. Designed in 1979, and undisputedly Player's best work, the course is set amongst stunning wildlife against the backdrop of the Sun City Resort and brings together a characteristically strong 63 man field. Up until 2012, this event used to comprise a field of just 12 players. That was increased to 30 back in 2013, and three years later increased to the number that we see today as a part of the Finals Series. Past winners here include the likes of Ballesteros, Faldo, Els, and Garcia. From a betting perspective, it's not usually prudent to look too far down the market here as very few "average" players have ever enjoyed success at Sun City.
The course itself is brutishly long. On paper it registers over 7,800 yards, but with the altitude (nearly 4,000 feet above sea level), the real distance is likely far closer to a manageable 7,500 yards as the ball flies over 4% further at that height. Geographically, this is a largely flat, bush lined course with over 500 bunkers and numerous mounds that can trap the players should they stray from the fairways. The mounds and swales are not the only dangers, however, with the thick kikuyu rough some of the most penal in golf due to its high density. This will wrap the clubs up at impact affecting both power and accuracy. It is crucial that the players keep the ball straight this week.
From the tee length is a substantial factor. Previous winners, such as recent three time champion Lee Westwood, and 2016 winner Alex Noren are renowned for their long and straight driving. The approach shots are typically flat and easy, albeit to small well bunkered putting surfaces. The keys to success here are to drive the ball long and straight, and for the putter to get hot. The winning score is typically around 20 under par and only first class ball strikers will contend this week in another limited field event.
Last Five Winners:
The Market Leaders
Another small yet highly talented field is assembled this week following on from the co-sanctioned PGA & Asian Tour events of the past few weeks. Those bore some success for us, and there once more looks to be value amongst this very competitive field. Home favourite, and in form, Louis Oosthuizen (10/1) sits atop the market as we might expect following his 3rd place finish behind Rory McIlroy and Xander Schauffele two weeks ago at the WGC Champions event in Singapore. Oosthuizen is a long, straight hitter with wonderful balance, and who can go very low on his day. After a relatively successful run at the Fedex Cup in the US, Louis played twice in Asia, and his 17 under par total in Singapore reflected a hot putter as much as anything else. If that club is working again this week, then Oosthuizen is a serious contender. Only twice in the last 6 years has he finished outside the places, although a maiden win here still eludes him. A 3rd behind Lee Westwood last year was his best finish to date and he came in there with just one top 30 finish in his previous 10 events. This year brings a stronger, more focused player in Oosthuizen, and he is a primary contender.
England's Tommy Fleetwood (11/1) sits behind Oosthuizen in the market as punters clamour seemingly for a big name over the rational thinking of who is likely to challenge for the title here. Whilst Tommy is an undeniably class player, his game is not in a place where he can turn around and challenge at a venue such as this. Fleetwood played all of the events on the co-sanctioned Asian swing without posting a single top 20, even in limited fields. At Sun City he has posted one top 10 in 4 visits, and was absent last year. Fleetwood is struggling with his long game, and missed fairways here are extremely penal. Tommy also lacks the braun to reach the putting surfaces from the thick kikuyu, and i would discourage anyone from backing him at this price. Henrik Stenson (12/1) is a point bigger than Fleetwood but surely represents a far greater chance of success. In his last 4 visits here, he has two 2nd places and has never been outside the top 10 at this resort. A 20th placed finish at the WGC Champions was a solid enough effort at a less suitable track. If Henrik gets his trusty three wood going then he could most conceivably blow off the cobwebs and push for the title this week.
Making up the top of the market are Matthew Fitzpatrick (14/1) and another home contender, Erik Van Rooyen (18/1). Fitzpatrick is playing some solid golf. Two weeks ago he added a 7th place finish at the WGC Champions to a runner up finish at the Italian Open. He had a further 2nd placed finish a few weeks ago at the Scandinavian Invitation. Matt is a straight hitter who should stay largely out of trouble, and his chances of success rest largely on whether he can shoot enough low numbers to contend. He has a career best 8th here two years ago which included a second round 77, and last year he failed to break 70 on his way to finishing 20th. He isn't for me. Van Rooyen picked up his maiden Tour title ahead of Fitzpatrick in Scandinavia, and looked back to his best at the Turkish Airlines Open last week before being eliminated on the first hole of a 6 man playoff. Erik has a top 10 here in 2016 and the game to suit the course. He isn't without a chance, but is not a tip for me.
Rob’s Golf Betting Tips
Headline Betting Tip
I've written a small piece about how highly I rate the chances of Louis Oosthuizen above, and this game is coming together just at the right time; enough for me to make him my headline pick this week. The 37 year old from Mossel Bay is a high calibre golfer. He has finished in the top 3 in each of the 4 Major Championships, including a win at the 2010 Open Championship, and would love to add a Nedbank Challenge title in his home country to that increasingly impressive CV. Coming into this week Oosty must know that this is as good a chance as he will get to achieve that goal. His recent play has been increasingly impressive, and playing his third tournament in four weeks is perfect preparation for the event known as "Africa's Major. The 3rd place finish in Shanghai showed just where his game is, and Louis arrives at this most comfortable of venues as, for me, the stand out favourite.
Oosthuizen's game is made for Sun City. A small, yet powerful, player he hits the ball, straight, long, and his iron play was razor sharp in Shanghai, as was the putting. There are four par 5s on this course that Louis will feel comfortable in overpowering and, if he does get into trouble, Oosthuizen knows all the nuances and escape routes at this venue more than any of his competitors. My staking strategy this week represents that I feel Louis has a high probability of being in the mix on Sunday afternoon, and I shall be investing the majority of the pot on him with 4 points e/w at 10/1.
One of the players that I feel is capable of challenging Oosthuizen this week is four time Nedbank champion Lee Westwood. Westwood's record here is second to none and he again showed his colours in this event with a runaway victory last year, finishing seven shots ahead of Ross Fisher in 4th. Only Sergio Garcia (absent this week) and our headline tip Oosthuizen could get anywhere near Lee. That victory was unexpected as a heavily out of form Westwood came in on the back of three missed cuts in six events, and was playing nowhere near the standard of golf that he arrives playing this week. From that event onwards, Westwood has had his wife as his caddy, and the results have improved significantly. In the twilight of his career he looks relaxed, and enjoying golf again. That spells danger for the field this week. Westwood has an unrivalled long game. His driving is second to none, and his iron play has been fantastic of late. The troubles traditionally for Lee have lay with the putter, but that has never afflicted him on the fast, small greens of Sun City. With his course form around a venue that throws up few surprises, this price is far too big, and I shall be having 2 points e/w at 30/1.
For my final selection this week in a limited field event, I'm punting for another home boy in the shape of Justin Harding. In the last two years of this event, Harding has posted finishes of 8th and 6th, and i cannot fathom why he is such a long price. Harding is a typical South African player with a great long game. His ball flight is high and that will help him overcome the distance at this altitude, and it is no surprise to see that he has posted previously strong results here. Harding has made the cut in his last four events and looked strong in Turkey where he went low over the weekend to post 12 under par and move into the top 20. At the Spanish Open 6 weeks ago he posted a 7th place finish, and seems to be rediscovering the early season form that included a top 10 finish at The Masters on a course with small, fast greens, measuring 7,500 yards in length. Those similarities and Justin's previously strong showings seem to have been passed over by compilers this week, and he is a value bet with 1 point e/w at 66/1.
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*All odds from Bet UK’s online betting markets correct at the time of writing.
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