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Ken Borland



Noren aimed low but ended over the moon 0

Posted on November 15, 2016 by Ken

 

Alex Noren was not aiming high at the start of the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Sunday, but he was over the moon after a phenomenal nine-under-par round of 63 earned him a dazzling six-shot victory at Gary Player Country Club.

In the 36 editions of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, only two other golfers – Sergio Garcia (2001) and Ernie Els (2002) – have shot 63 in the final round to win and it’s fair to say the course was much easier back then.

The 34-year-old Swede started the day six strokes behind leader Jeunghun Wang, who had fired a wonderful 64 in incredibly tough conditions on the third day and seemed to already have one hand on the famous crystal trophy.

But Noren produced a magnificent front nine, that featured six birdies, and then eagled the 10th and birdied 11 to rocket into the lead, nine-under through 11 holes and playing golf that was simply out of this world.

“Honestly, I thought I had no chance at the start of the round, this is a really tricky course and the leader had shot 64 yesterday which was like 59 today.

“So I just wanted to get a good round in before the World Tour Championship in Dubai next week, to have a good positive feeling going there, work on my swing a bit. Anything under par I would have been happy,” Noren said after his fourth victory in his last 11 tournaments.

But after starting with three straight birdies he then also picked up a shot on the fifth and then sank a 30-foot putt for another birdie on the par-three seventh; two behind Wang, he started to believe.

“I was a bit nervous at the start, I didn’t feel on top of my game but something happened and after seven holes I started to realise that I must believe in myself that I can win. My putter was very hot and I got a lot more excited,” Noren said.

The 21-year-old Wang initially held things together well and was not going away as he birdied the ninth to draw level with Noren. But he could only muster one more birdie on the back nine and, with his tee-shots going ever more off-target, he was undone by four bogeys coming in, having to settle for second place.

Louis Oosthuizen, three off the lead at the start of the day, just could not get going on Sunday and double-bogeyed the par-three seventh after finding the greenside bunker to fall off the pace. He birdied the 10th and 15th holes, but there were more dropped shots on the last three holes as he finished ninth, nine behind Noren.

Andy Sullivan shot a level-par 72 on Sunday to finish on seven-under, tied for third with leading South African Branden Grace (70), Spaniard Alejandro Canizares (68), Frenchman Victor Dubuisson (68) and Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia (67).

Henrik Stenson shot a 70 to finish eighth on six-under and will be going to the Race to Dubai finale in Dubai this week on top of the order of merit, but with Danny Willett and Noren still able to catch him.

Air of inevitability as Schwartzel wins Tshwane Open 0

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Ken

 

There was an air of inevitability early in the final round that Charl Schwartzel would win the Tshwane Open, but the world number 43 impressed everybody with the sheer quality of his play to shoot a brilliant 63 and win the co-sanctioned title by a massive eight strokes at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.

An eagle on the par-five ninth hole after a superb second shot from the semi-rough meant Schwartzel was four ahead of Zander Lombard at the turn and huge birdie putts of 40 and 35 feet respectively on the two par-threes coming in, the 14th and 16th, sealed the deal for the former Masters champion.

Young Lombard had started the day just one stroke behind Schwartzel, but wilted as the pressure of playing in the lead two-ball with one of South Africa’s best golfers began to weigh heavily on him, the wheels eventually coming off with double-bogeys on 16 and 17 as the Joburg Open runner-up crashed to a 74 and a share of seventh place.

“On the first three days I hit the ball well above standard but my putting was below standard. So it was very satisfying that the putting came right in the final round, today was a big step forward. I’ve played a lot here and it’s good to play on familiar ground, it makes your chances better. This has certainly boosted my confidence and I’m excited to get back to America,” Schwartzel said.

Schwartzel collected seven birdies and an eagle, offset by two bogeys, to finish on 16-under-par for the lowest score and biggest winning margin in the event’s four-year history. The 31-year-old once again relied on his superior ability with the long-irons to separate himself from the rest of the field to dramatic effect.

“I’ve always had the capability to hit my long-irons longer and more accurately than most golfers, which is a big advantage. It means I can hit a six-iron where others are taking a four-iron, which gives me more loft and allows me to eliminate a lot of unnecessary mistakes. From a young age I’ve been able to hit my long-irons very well,” Schwartzel said.

As Lombard tumbled down the leaderboard after his tee-shot on 16 strayed on to the edge of the moat next to the green, it allowed Denmark’s Jeff Winther to be the sole runner-up as he calmly soared up the leaderboard with a 64 to finish on eight-under-par.

Schwartzel’s other challengers were all washed away in the eddies of his brilliance, with Anthony Michael finishing third after a level-par 70 left him on six-under-par and Haydn Porteous slipped to a 73 and a share of 10th place on three-under-par with Brandon Stone (66) and Jaco van Zyl (67).

Justin Walters, Richard Sterne and Dean Burmester all climbed the leaderboard to finish in a tie for fourth on five-under-par, while Australian Brett Rumford and Scotland’s Jamie McLeary finished with Lombard in seventh on four-under-par.

 

Madsen makes an early move in Tshwane Open 0

Posted on December 11, 2015 by Ken

Morten Orum Madsen has already triumphed in Johannesburg, winning the SA Open at Glendower in 2013, and the Dane made an early move to the top of the leaderboard in the Tshwane Open on Thursday, posting a seven-under-par 63 in the first round at Pretoria Country Club.

Madsen, who started his round on the 10th hole, will claim all the headlines after he aced the par-three eighth and then eagled the ninth for a spectacular finish to his round, but he was joined on seven-under later in the day by Englishman David Horsey.

While two international golfers are in the lead, South Africans performed strongly on a beautiful day at Pretoria Country Club, with Wallie Coetsee a shot behind in a tie for third with Australian Brett Rumford, while Dean Burmester, Keith Horne and Merrick Bremner all shot 65s and Chris Swanepoel, Oliver Bekker, Trevor Fisher Junior, Justin Walters, Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen are all on four-under.

Horsey started his round on the first hole and, after five successive pars, he motored to three-under at the turn with birdies on the sixth, eighth and ninth holes. He showed that a tactical, safety-first approach is the way to go on this parklands course as he then added four more birdies on the back nine, including shots picked up on the testing 16th and 17th holes, and completed a bogey-free round.

“It’s always nice to play a round with no bogeys, around here one loose tee-shot can easily lead to bogey or worse. I hit a lot of two and three-irons off the tee, just trying to be in the right place.

“Unlike Copperleaf [where the Tshwane Open was previously held], the bombers don’t have an advantage here, it’s a positional course. It’s very tactical, you have to hit the right spots and be sensible about when you attack the flags. I was able to pick my shots and sometimes you hit a three-iron off the tee and take a two-iron into the green!” Horsey said.

Madsen showed that his iron-play is in great nick as he followed up rounds of 64 and 66 to end last weekend’s Africa Open with his 63.

“It was fantastic. I’ve found something in my game that’s working and I’ve been pretty consistent. I’ve put it in the fairway a lot more recently. I’m giving myself a lot more looks at birdie and that makes everything easier. It takes the stress off the putter a bit and it’s easier to relax,” Madsen said.

Holes-in-one normally come at the most unexpected times, but Madsen said he had an inkling that one was around the corner for him.

“For the last couple of weeks I’ve been hitting some shots that were really close and I said to my caddie that a hole-in-one was on the cards pretty soon. Luckily for me it came today. I hit a fantastic shot, I couldn’t hit it better, and it spun back into the hole. That was only my second hole-in-one and it’s really special to have one in competition on the European Tour.

“I had 123 metres with a 54-degree wedge. The wind was a little bit off the right. I hit a really solid shot and struck it so well that it flew past the pin and then spun right back in,” Madsen said.

The 26-year-old was not finished yet, though, as he then proceeded to eagle the 490-metre par-five ninth.

“When you stand on the next tee after a hole-in-one you’re pretty pumped and confident. I succeeded in gathering my thoughts and hit a really nice drive and then a great second shot. I played a three-iron to 12 feet and then sank it, which was a fantastic way to finish. It was the kind of thing you dream about, but don’t expect,” Madsen said.

Coetsee was not able to finish the deal in the Joburg Open, leading at the start of the final round but being overtaken by Andy Sullivan, and he finished in a tie for 45th at the Africa Open, but the 42-year-old was impressive on Thursday in collecting five birdies and an eagle, and dropping just one shot, on his way to a 64.

Coetsee said he is taking a lot of irons off the tees and, even when he does hit driver, he’s not giving it 100% effort.

Rumford joined the Jeffrey’s Bay resident on six-under with a round that featured no dropped shots and three birdies on each nine.

While Raphael Jacquelin’s finish was nothing like Madsen’s, the Frenchman nevertheless surged up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth on five-under as he birdied holes seven to nine, having also started his round on the 10th.

Local hero George Coetzee’s round was nothing if not eventful as he started with two birdies, bogeyed the fourth and then birdied seven and nine to go out in 32. But he then bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before completing a 67 with birdies at the 15th and 16th holes.

http://citizen.co.za/343100/tshwane-open-first-round/

Ford unable to keep up with dazzling Fisher Jnr 0

Posted on October 29, 2015 by Ken

Overnight leader Matt Ford was unable to keep up with a dazzling Trevor Fisher Junior, who shot a superb nine-under-par 63, on the third day of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Saturday.

Fisher Junior’s magnificent round, which featured seven birdies and an eagle, saw him finish the penultimate round on 16-under-par.

Ford posted a solid three-under-par 69 to go into the final round on 14-under, while the Englishman was joined in contention for the co-sanctioned title by South African Jaco van Zyl, who shot a 68 and is on 12-under-par.

The other golfers in the top six after the second round faded, with John Parry shooting a 69 to be 10-under, Mark Tullo posting a 70 to be on nine-under and South African Erik van Rooyen slipped all the way back to six-under after a 74.

Fisher Junior tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and for fourth in the 2010 Africa Open, and has five other top-10 finishes in co-sanctioned events, but he says he has learnt how to win after he overtook George Coetzee to win the Investec Cup last year and claim the R3.5 million bonus pool.

“You learn from every experience, but the Investec Cup was invaluable and I now know how to handle the pressure of trying to win on the final day. It’s about managing your game, where to be and where not to be. But you also have to hit the ball well and putt well,” Fisher Junior said.

While Fisher Junior was rolling in putts from everywhere – including an extraordinary 65-foot effort for birdie on the 13th – his compatriot, Van Zyl, was nonplussed by the greens. Despite playing beautifully from tee to green, he could only collect three birdies and an eagle.

“I got off to a flying start, but then I battled to see the lines from 13 on. I was rolling the ball nicely and I gave myself lots of opportunities, but I was always wondering about the lines. Anyway, I’m really enjoying being in the mix,” Van Zyl said.

Van Zyl’s only bogey came on the ninth hole when he missed a short putt for par, while Ford made his mistakes on the par-four eighth and 13th holes.

Ford was three-under-par for his round and comfortably holding on to the lead when he stepped on to the eighth tee and took on the short dogleg to the right. The Englishman put his second into the bunker, went over the green with his third, was short of the putting surface with his fourth, on for five and then putted for double-bogey.

But the man who finally won his European Tour card on his 10th visit to Qualifying School is still on track for a maiden title.

“It was a roller-coaster round, there were quite a few emotions and I’m a bit drained now,” Ford said after his round. “I would have taken three-under at the beginning of the round and there were more good shots than bad. Like a swan, it might look calm on the outside, but the feet are going mad underneath. But I try not to get too involved in the emotional side because you can’t play good golf with too much emotion,” Ford said.

Fisher Junior has led before going into the final round of a co-sanctioned event but failed to seal the deal, but he said he now has a fresh perspective and golf is no longer a daily grind for the 35-year-old.

“Whatever happens tomorrow, I’m going to have a smile on my face. When you’re younger, you tend to try too hard, but now that I’m more mature I realise that it’s just a game and I’m lucky to be playing it. Having kids also gives you a whole new perspective, and I’m just going to enjoy the view tomorrow,” Fisher Junior said.

Ford, who would have been delivering mail as a postman if he hadn’t finally gained his tour card last November, is similarly philosophical heading into the biggest day of his career.

“Tomorrow is going to be a lot of learning. What I’ve learnt today will hopefully put me in good stead for the final round,” the mellow 36-year-old said.

http://www.citizen.co.za/339956/ford-prepares-to-face-biggest-day-of-his-life/

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  • Thought of the Day

    1 Corinthians 3:3 - "For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?"

    One of my favourite U2 songs is a collaboration with Johnny Cash called The Wanderer, and it features the line "they say they want the kingdom, but they don't want God in it".
    Many people say they believe in God, but they don't experience his loving presence. They may be active in Christian work, but only if they have their way. If they cannot be leaders, they refuse to be involved.
    Because they refuse to allow God to fill their lives with his love, they remain weak and powerless.
    Spiritual maturity means developing a greater love for others.

    "When the love of Christ saturates you, immature attitudes such as pettiness, jealousy and strife are dissolved.
    "It is only when you have an intimate relationship with the Lord that you receive sufficient grace to rise above this immaturity and enjoy the solid food that the Holy Spirit gives you." - Solly Ozrovech, A Shelter From The Storm



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