The crown jewel in South Africa’s golfing calendar is back as the bigger (and hopefully better) Nedbank Golf Challenge swings into town from Thursday onwards.
Here are five contenders vying for the title.
The 31-year-old South African reserves some of his best performances for big tournaments on the highveld, having won both the Joburg and Tshwane Opens in recent years. He flies under the radar a bit when it comes to the top South African golfers, but has shown really good form in the last couple of months with 17 of his last 24 rounds being sub-70. He has three top-10 finishes in that time and shot a marvellous 66 in the final round of the prestigious Turkish Airlines Open at the weekend. The affable Coetzee will be very motivated to beat the likes of Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel to the famous crystal trophy that has eluded South African golfers since 2007.
The runner-up in 2014, the 36-year-old Englishman is long and accurate off the tee. Sixth on the Race to Dubai, the European Tour order of merit, Fisher has six runners-up finishes since losing the 2014 Nedbank Golf Challenge to compatriot Danny Willett and the luck has to fall on his side sometime soon.
The young South Korean showed that he has the right stuff and the game to conquer the daunting Gary Player Country Club course, shooting a brilliant 64, described by his rivals as being worth 59 on a normal day, on a blustery third day at Sun City last year to claim the lead. He eventually finished second to Alex Noren, but Jeunghun has won again this year at the Qatar Masters and is in form judging by his 65 in the final round of the Turkish Airlines Open at the weekend.
The 34-year-old from Belgium has the length off the tee to overwhelm the Gary Player Country Club course, but he seems to have added the accuracy and composure to his game to be more consistent, enjoying his best season on the European Tour since 2012. He shot rounds of 64-64-73-66 at the weekend to push Justin Rose all the way and finish second in the lucrative Turkish Airlines Open.
The 23-year-old Yorkshireman is the sort of meticulous golfer who traditionally succeeds at Sun City – extremely accurate, a clean-striker of the irons and with a wonderful short game and a hot putter. Since winning the European Masters in September, Fitzpatrick has shot 17 sub-par rounds in his last 20 and his 70 in the third round of the Turkish Airlines Open was his highest of the tournament. He also lifts his game in the big tournaments and won last year’s World Tour Championship in Dubai. If he continues that form, the bookies will have to edit his current odds of 18/1.