Nedbank Golf Challenge winner Branden Grace of South Africa with the trophy and the Emirates ladies during day 4 of the 2017 Nedbank Golf Challenge at The Gary Player Country Club on November 12, 2017 in Sun City, South Africa.
Image: Gordon Arons/Gallo Images

The organisers of this year’s Nedbank Golf Challenge (NGC) are expecting the strongest field yet since the tournament became part of the European Tour.

Former world No1 Rory McIlroy and last year’s Masters champion Sergio Garcia have already been confirmed for the event from 8-11 November.

McIlroy‚ who lost in an epic play-off against Englishman Graeme Storm in last year’s SA Open‚ on Thursday had a share of the lead after the first round of the BMW Championships in Pennsylvania.

The most recent SA Open runner-up Branden Grace‚ will also return to Sun City.

The defending champion‚ who broke a 10-year drought by winning last year‚ is currently the highest ranked South African in the field.

Brandon Stone‚ the SA Open winner in 2016‚ will also tee up.

That year was a big one for the three-time winner on the European Tour‚ as he went on to represent SA in golf’s historic return to the Olympic Games.

As you’d expect‚ tournament host Gary Player cooed when he shared his thoughts on the field.

“It’s very important we have all the best South Africans here to show the world why we are one of the best golfing nations on the planet‚" Player said.

"We are going to have a fantastic field and we are all very excited to watch the drama on the course unfold in November.”

The tournament is one of only eight tournaments on the European Tour to enjoy the premium status of a Rolex Series event‚ and this year offers a total prize fund of $7.5 million (R113.5m).

The tournament also comes at a key time on the European Tour as the penultimate event before the season-ending DP World Tour Championship on the Race to Dubai.