Charl Schwartzel extended his lead at the top of the Chase to the Investec Cup standings with his sixth-place finish in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club on Sunday.
And although Dane Thomas Bjorn won the $6.5-million tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, it was his countryman South African Open Champion Morten Orum Madsen who moved into second place in the standings behind Schwartzel with his share of 25th giving him 64 points and pushing him above Hennie Otto.
While the Nedbank Golf Challenge is the richest tournament in South Africa, the winner gets just 400 points as opposed to the 900 the winner gets in each of the other Sunshine Tour events co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
Qualification for the 30 places in the final event of the Chase to the Investec Cup is determined through a points system that incorporates 21 regular-season Sunshine Tour events, beginning with the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open in April and ending at the Telkom PGA Championship in March next year. The points on offer vary based on the prize fund and size of the tournament.
After the resounding success of the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup series, the 2013-14 series will now feature a lucrative bonus pool of R10-million, double that of 2013. The winner of the 2014 Chase to the Investec Cup will win R3.5 million, with the second-place finisher winning R950,000, and third R700,000, whilst 30th spot in the bonus pool pay-out will take home R50,000.
Bjorn’s 400 points lifted him into a share of 40th place with his countryman Soren Hansen after the latter finished in sixth at last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship.
At the other business end of the standings – the battle to secure the 30th and last place for the finale of the Chase to the Investec Cup in March 2014 – there is no change: In 30th spot is Doug McGuigan with 462.50 points, and the man sitting just outside the top 30 in 31st position is still Ruan de Smidt, both of whom will be looking for a good showing in the Nelson Mandela Championship presented by ISPS Handa in Durban next week.