Four Southern Africans to watch out for at the Nedbank Golf Challenge

The ninth green at Gary Player Country Club ahead of the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Southern African golfers have always acquitted themselves well at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, winning 14 of the 37 editions of 'Africa's Major'.

South Africa's Branden Grace is back to defend the title he won in 2017, while the previous local winner, Trevor Immelman, who saluted a decade earlier, is also competing.

There are also a number of talented young South African golfers coming through, who will be gunning for the famous crystal trophy.

KweséESPN looks at four rising South African stars who could make a splash at the Gary Player Country Club.

Brandon Stone

The former University of Texas prodigy has been tipped to achieve great things since he won the 2013 NCAA Freshman of the Year award. The Rusterburg-born Stone graduated from the Challenge Tour in 2015, and he shocked many when he won the SA Open at the start of 2016 before winning the Alfred Dunhill Championship at the prestigious Leopards Creek later that year. Stone earned the biggest pay day of his career -- almost €1 million -- when he won the Scottish Open in July after a rather ordinary first half of the year. He also recorded his highest place finish in a major this year when he finished 12th at the US PGA Championship.

Erik van Rooyen

The 28-year-old Van Rooyen has already earned €1,077,339 in his rookie campaign, having recorded nine top 20s in 23 events in the 2017-18 season. One of the top-20s came at the Open Championship, where he finished 17th after briefly leading the major after a fantastic first round of 67. Van Rooyen earned his European Tour card by finishing in the top 15 on the Challenge Tour after winning the Hainan Open. The Cape Town-born golfer, who now plays out of the Johannesburg Country Club, held the 54-hole lead at the Irish Open, but a final-round 74 had him finish in a tie for fourth.

Dylan Frittelli

Frittelli was one of the stars of the University of Texas golf team between 2008 and 2012, and he sunk the winning putt that helped the Longhorns win their first National Championship in 40 years. The 28-year-old Frittelli is spending time on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean after earning his PGA and European Tour cards over the past couple of years. It's in Europe, though, where the Johannesburg-born golfer has enjoyed great success. He was named 2017's Graduate of the Year, after claiming the 2017 Lyoness Open and finishing second at the Volvo China Open, and he won the the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open in the second start of his 2017-2018 season.

Dean Burmester

Burmester's father, Mark, represented Zimbabwe at the 1992 Cricket World Cup in Australia, where he played four matches and dismissed greats such as Sachin Tendulkar and Dean Jones. He also became the first Zimbabwean to take a Test wicket when he removed India's Ravi Shastri with his right-arm medium pacers. That would explain where Dean Burmester got his ability to hit the long ball, as he averages 318 yards off the tee on the European Tour in 2018. The Harare-born Burmester, who now resides in Bloemfontein, won for the first time as a professional in 2013, at the Polokwane Classic, and he added five more Sunshine Tour titles before he triumphed at the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open in 2017.