Nedbank Golf Challenge Form Guideon November 8, 2010
With less than a month to go before the Nedbank Golf Challenge and the Nedbank Senior Golf Challenge gets underway at the Gary Player Country Club, the results at the WGC–HSBC Champions event and Charles Schwab Cup finale were early guides to the form shown by most of the players that will be in action at Sun City.
Lee Westwood is likely to start as a clear favourite in the 12-man field – the Englishman may have been beaten by a shot in the race for the season’s final World Golf Championship title, but he clearly outplayed the opposition he will be facing during the first week in December. Westwood’s 18-under par total, which ensured that he retained his world number one ranking, was 11 shots clear of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen, who shared sixth place, and 19 shots better than the score recorded by Padraig Harrington and Ross Fisher. Fisher, having moved into third place during the final round, collapsed with a series of bogeys and a double drop in the home straight and eventually finished in a tie for 16th.
Only two players that will be competing for the biggest prize on the African continent at Sun City were not in action – NGC defending champion Robert Allenby finished in a tie for 21st on 4-under par, and Tim Clark only just managed to finish inside the top-25. Edoardo Molinari, who looked on as his brother Francesco took the title in China, finished in a lowly 41st place, and Anders Hanson’s performance was decidedly disappointing. The Swede did manage to break to par in the opening round, but then failed to come to grips with the course and not helped by a third round 79, he eventually finished on 9-over par and well out of contention.
Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen’s opening round suggested that he had recovered from the ankle injury incurred during a hunting trip, and he was well placed after a 68. But two rounds of 80 put paid to any chance he might have had, and he found himself languishing at the bottom of the leader board on 13-over par. It is hoped that his injury will not prevent him from being at his best in Sun City.
On the Champions Tour, six of the eight senior players that will be contesting the first Nedbank Senior Challenge were in action, with David Frost faring the best. In the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, John Cook took the title (with Bernhard Langer winning the points race), but Frost finished in third place on 12-under par. A shot behind Frost was Fred Funk and Nick Price on 8-under tied for 12th place. Of the remaining two, Jay Haas finished on 4-under, and Tommy Armour III just managed to break par.
Mark McNulty, who is still recovering from a knee replacement operation he underwent in May, is confident of giving a good account of himself in Sun City despite his long layoff, and he has been practicing in preparation for his return to the course where he won the Nedbank Golf Challenge in 1986.