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Ken Borland



Otaegui takes advantage of friendly conditions with superb 62 0

Posted on December 30, 2015 by Ken

 

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui took advantage of the friendlier conditions available at the start of the second round of the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Friday, shooting a superb eight-under-par 62 to claim a two-stroke lead at the halfway stage of the co-sanctioned tournament.

Otaegui was in the first three-ball off at 6.40am and he set the tone for his round with birdies on the par-four second and third holes. Five birdies in a row from the eighth saw him surge up the leaderboard and he then made twos at both of the par-threes on the back nine, before bogeying the last to finish on 11-under for the tournament.

“We were first to tee off this morning and the conditions were perfect. I like playing that early and I did really well. I made a lot of birdies and I’m happy with my round. It was a good round from the beginning.

“The greens were perfect, because we opened the course. They were good yesterday, but when you play first the course is in very good condition and you can take advantage,” Otaegui said after his best round on the European Tour.

South African Merrick Bremner is two shots back at nine-under-par after a typically attacking approach brought him a four-under-par 66. He started his round at the 10th hole but was level-par for the day after a bogey on the first, but four birdies would come in his last six holes to leave him alone in second place.

While joint overnight leader Morten Orum Madsen would come undone with two double-bogeys in his first four holes and successive bogeys around the turn, leaving him six shots off the pace on five-under, David Horsey kept himself in strong contention.

The Englishman started on the 10th and put a double-bogey on the fourth behind him as he collected two birdies coming in to finish on eight-under, in a tie for third with South Africans Keith Horne and Trevor Fisher Junior, and Italian Edoardo Molinari.

Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader Andy Sullivan had an icky round of 71 to miss the cut, while it also all went wrong for Lindani Ndwandwe, who posted a promising 68 in the first round before a run of five successive bogeys from the third hole saw him shoot 79 on Friday and also miss the cut.

The in-form Wallie Coetsee had steadily climbed the leaderboard with four birdies as he stood on the 18th tee tied with Bremner on nine-under, but then suffered a major blow as his tee-shot found one of the numerous bunkers on a hole that is usually a par-five but is a par-four in this tournament.

The lapse led to a double-bogey which pushed Coetsee back down to seven-under, in a tie for seventh with fellow South Africans Dean Burmester and George Coetzee.

Conditions were definitely trickier on the second day at Pretoria Country Club, with sunny and warm conditions speeding up the greens and a capricious breeze making club selection tricky.

“I found the wind quite tricky. It was really swirling in completely opposite directions and I got a lot of clubs wrong compared to yesterday. You’re trying to make birdies with wedges in your hand and you’re hitting it five or 10 metres short because the wind changes on you. That can get quite frustrating. I think the wind was the biggest factor in why the scores weren’t that low,” Horne said after his 67.

Otaegui, who learnt the game at the same Real Golf Club de San Sebastian as former Ryder Cup captain Jose-Maria Olazabal, who is also his mentor, said Pretoria Country Club suited him.

“I like these type of courses that are old-style and have trees, so that you have to place the ball. You don’t need to hit it far, but rather put it in a place where you can attack the pins. Even if I missed a few tee shots today I hit some good irons and gave myself birdie chances,” the 22-year-old said.

He may be on top of the leaderboard at the moment, but Otaegui is not getting ahead of himself as he eyes his first top-three finish on the European Tour.

“I’m happy, but we still have a lot of way to go. It’s just 50% of the tournament and so many things can happen. I just have to be patient tomorrow. Let’s see if I’ve learnt something from these last two rounds,” he said.

Molinari, a two-time European Tour winner and a former Ryder Cup player, was slow out of the gate as he started on the 10th, only making his first birdie on the 18th hole. But he also picked up shots on the first and on his last two holes to put himself amongst the leaders.

 

 

 

 

 

Otaegui’s 62 sees the Spaniard into the lead in Tshwane Open 0

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Ken

 

A wonderful round of eight-under-par 62 by Spaniard Adrian Otaegui saw him claim a two-stroke lead after the second round of the co-sanctioned Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Friday.

Otaegui, who grew up in the same northern Spanish seaside resort town of Fuenterrabia as Jose-Maria Olazabal and is mentored by the former Ryder Cup captain, went out in the first three-ball of the day and conquered the parklands course with five successive birdies from the eighth hole.

“We were first to tee off this morning and the conditions were perfect. I like playing that early and I did really well, made a lot of birdies and I’m happy with my round. It was a good round from the beginning, the greens were perfect because we opened the course. They were good yesterday, but when you play first the course is in very good condition and you can take advantage.

“I like these type of courses that are old-style and have trees, so that you have to place the ball. You don’t need to hit it far, but rather put in a place where you can attack the pins. Even if I missed a few tee shots today, I hit some good irons and gave myself birdie chances,” Otaegui said after his best round on the European Tour.

Pretoria Country Club was a tougher prospect on the second day, with a gentle but capricious breeze, and first-round leaders Morten Orum Madsen and David Horsey both slipped down the leaderboard.

Englishman Horsey managed to limit the damage with a one-under-par 69 that leaves him on eight-under, three behind Otaegui and one behind second-placed South African Merrick Bremner, who produced a four-under-par 66 to go to nine-under.

Madsen, from Denmark, knew he was in for a tough day as he double-bogeyed the first and fourth holes. He dropped further shots on the ninth and 10th, before cruising to three successive birdies, picking up another shot on 17, but then stalling with a bogey on the last to finish with a two-over 72, six shots off the pace.

Bremner motored to the end of his round, which started on the 10th, with four birdies in his last six holes to reach the halfway stage of the tournament alone in second place, to show that big drivers of the ball can still succeed on the tight course, providing they are accurate.

The best of the afternoon rounds would come from Trevor Fisher Junior, fresh off a breakthrough win in last weekend’s Africa Open. The South African had four successive birdies from the sixth hole to set up a 66 that lifted him to eight-under for the tournament, in a tie for third with Horsey, Keith Horne and Edoardo Molinari.

 

 

 

 

 

62 came ‘out of the blue’ for Henning 0

Posted on September 15, 2015 by Ken

South African veteran Nic Henning has not finished in the top 100 of the Sunshine Tour order of merit since 2009 and he readily admitted that his record-equalling nine-under-par 62 in the first round of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Thursday had come out of the blue.

“I have no idea where today’s round came from, the last couple of years I’ve been playing horrible golf and you can see that in my results. But I’ve been playing a lot recently and it feels fantastic, it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a good round,” Henning said.

The 45-year-old reached the milestone of 300 Sunshine Tour tournaments in September 2010, having turned pro in 1992, and Thursday’s glorious round was perhaps reward for his sheer determination to keep going through many lean years.

“You’ve just got to keep on going, fortunately I did well enough earlier in my career to qualify for this tournament through the career money-list, because pre-qualifying, which I had to do a couple of years ago, is really hit-and-miss. But you’ve got to just keep grinding away and believing you can do it,” Henning, the nephew of South African golfing great Harold, said.

His round of 62 equals the course record for the West Course set by Desvonde Botes in 2007, but the more challenging East Course lies in wait in Friday’s second round. Except for the 66s shot on the East Course by another South African veteran, Wallie Coetsee, and Englishman Sam Hutsby, all the other golfers in the top-10 on the leaderboard played on the West Course.

“My confidence is okay but I’m a bit apprehensive because the East Course is much tougher, but the secret is driving the ball nicely. Fortunately, throughout my 24 years on tour my driving has been very good.

“But today was only one round and I hope tomorrow brings a decent round as well. I’m just thinking about that first tee shot,” Henning said.

Two other seasoned local golfers, Titch Moore and Tjaart van der Walt, as well as Thomas Pieters of Belgium, also tamed the West Course with eight-under-par 63s.

Pieters eagled the par-five 15th, but then dropped shots on the 16th and 18th holes to leave him a little irritated.

Scoring is usually low on the West Course, but there is still plenty of timber to ensnare the errant golfer. Nevertheless, there were a host of cheerful golfers coming off that side of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, with South Africans Dean Burmester and Garth Mulroy, as well as Australian Jason Scrivener, shooting 64s, and Joachim B. Hansen, Scott Henry, Byeong-hun An, Jorge Campillo, Andrew Curlewis and Simon Dyson carding 65s to join Coetsee and Hutsby on six-under.

Defending champion George Coetzee is sitting comfortably a stroke further back after a 66 on the West Course, while Thomas Aiken is also on five-under-par after a 67 on the East Course.

Two-time champion Richard Sterne is on three-under, while newly-announced European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke is on level-par.

Apart from Henning’s heroics, the other highlight of the day was the hole-in-one Moore registered on the 98-metre par-three fifth hole.

“I got off to a nice start and was a couple-under. I got up to the fifth and it was a perfect yardage for my 58-degree wedge, I pitched it a little behind the flag and it spun in. It never looked like it was going to miss. To make a one on the card is always special. It was awesome,” Moore said.

While the ace obviously helped catapult Moore up the leaderboard, it was a top-class round in general by the 39-year-old.

“I’m pleased with the round and to shoot eight-under on the West is always a good start. I played nicely and hit a lot of greens. I gave myself a lot of chances and putted solid,” Moore said.

Van der Walt was also delighted with his round after his comeback from a fatigue-inducing illness which now has him on a strict diet.

“It’s a lengthy process, but I’m getting fitter and stronger. I only had 25-26 putts today and that’s what it’s all about, as well as confidence. Golf is a sport we tend to over-complicate, but you play better when you simplify things,” Van der Walt said.

http://citizen.co.za/334504/henning-feels-fantastic-about-first-round/

Frustrated Henning gets a 62 out of the blue 0

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Ken

 

Veteran South African golfer Nic Henning has been tearing his hair out over the last few years as his game has steadily declined and then suddenly, out of the blue, came a record-equaling nine-under-par 62 yesterday in the first round of the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

The 45-year-old Henning, the nephew of Harold, turned pro in 1992 and finished in the top 10 on the order of merit in 1997/98, 1999/2000 and 2004/5, but there have been many lean years since then and the last time he was in the top 100 on the money-list was back in 2009.

“The last couple of years I’ve been playing horrible golf and you can see that in my results. I have no idea where today’s round came from, but I’ve been playing a lot recently and it feels fantastic, it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a good round,” Henning said after the best round in his lengthy pro career.

There were seven birdies and an eagle in Henning’s round, which equalled the West Course record set by fellow South African Desvonde Botes in 2007, and he went out in a phenomenal 29 strokes.

“My iron play was really good today, the best it’s been for many years, and I got off to a flyer to settle the nerves with birdies on the first two holes and then the eagle on the third when I hit a seven-iron from 169 metres exactly as I wanted to and it went in the hole!” Henning explained.

There are three golfers one stroke behind Henning on eight-under – fellow South African veterans Titch Moore and Tjaart van der Walt, as well as Thomas Pieters from Belgium.

Dean Burmester, Garth Mulroy and Australian Jason Scrivener are on seven-under, while another seasoned local, Wallie Coetsee, had the best round on the tougher East Course and is in the group on six-under.

Henning has been through the mills in recent years and his amazing round on Thursday was perhaps reward for his determination to keep going.

“You’ve just got to keep on going, fortunately I did well enough earlier in my career to qualify for this tournament through the career money-list, because pre-qualifying, which I had to do a couple of years ago, is really hit-and-miss. But you’ve got to just keep grinding away and believing you can do it,” Henning said.

It was either feast or famine for newly-announced European Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke as he collected six birdies, two double-bogeys and two bogeys on his way to a level-par 72 on the East Course, while defending champion George Coetzee was in touch with the leaders after a five-under-par 66 on the West Course.

Thomas Aiken is in the same group after a 67 on the East Course, while two-time champion Richard Sterne is in a tie for 43rd after a 69.

Moore made an incredible start, going five-under-par through five holes after a hole-in-one on the very short 98m par-three.

“I got off to a nice start and was a couple-under. I got up to the fifth and it was a perfect yardage for my 58-degree wedge, I pitched it a little behind the flag and it spun in. It never looked like it was going to miss. To make a one on the card is always special. It was awesome,” Moore said.

 



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