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Sullivan to end trophy drought

Sullivan to end trophy drought


The penultimate event of the European Tour season gets underway on Thursday with the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Andy Sullivan looks well set to become just the fourth Englishman to lift the trophy.

Francesco Molinari, Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose – who are first, second and third respectively in the Race to Dubai standings – may have decided to swerve the trip to South Africa but there is still considerable quality on show, with Rory McIlroy the 27/4 favourite.

Spaniard Sergio Garcia and defending champion Branden Grace are also in attendance this week – the duo priced at 10/1 and 17/1 respectively – but it is the name of world number 127 Sullivan that sticks out in the betting.

Sullivan to win @ 24/1

After winning all three of his European Tour titles in 2015 and then representing Europe at the 2016 Ryder Cup, things went downhill for Sullivan in 2017 after he ended that year with just two top-10 finishes to his name.

The Englishman has put in a tremendous amount of work to get back to his best and the results have been evident this season, with eight top-10 finishes showing huge signs of recovery. Putting has been a key area for the 31-year-old’s resurgence and he currently sits fourth in putts per GIR this season.

Sullivan came close to landing the Nedbank title in 2016 when he ended up in a tie for third and he has shown over the years that his game is suited to courses in South Africa, with his first two professional wins coming on the southernmost tip of the African continent.

Throw in the fact the Nuneaton-born star is second in strokes gained: off the tee, and he looks a very tempting price to make it win number three in South Africa.

Danny Willett Top-5 Finish @ 13/2

Another Englishman rediscovering some of his best form is 2016 Masters champion Willett. Having suffered with injuries over the past year, the 31-year-old is back to full fitness and his performances have improved as a result.

The Sheffield-born ace was tied-23rd at The CJ Cup before ending up in a share of seventh at last week’s Turkish Airlines Open in Antalya, and the recent outing could have ended up much better had the putter been hotter on the final day.

Willett is a former champion in Sun City, having triumphed in 2014 by four shots, and his renewed confidence, which has catapulted him to 15th in strokes gained: off the tee this season, should see him put in a strong challenge this week.

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Warren Ashurst Warren has been a sports journalist for over 25 years, both written and broadcast. Having worked as a radio commentator, he has a wealth of experience of seeing top-level sport first hand and specialises in football, golf and cricket.