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Ken Borland



Noren blitzes front nine to win from far behind 0

Posted on November 16, 2016 by Ken

 

Alex Noren started the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Sunday six strokes behind the leader and said he didn’t feel he had any chance of winning.

But the 34-year-old Swede immediately birdied the first three holes and set about producing a dazzling front nine of just 30 strokes.

As if that wasn’t good enough, he then eagled the 10th hole and birdied 11 to go to nine-under-par for his round. Suddenly, he was three strokes ahead of overnight leader Jeunghun Wang.

Although he completed the last seven holes in level-par, it was enough for him to double his lead by the end of the day as he signed for an incredible final round of 63 and a six-stroke win on 14-under-par.

“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 astonishing victory at the Gary Player Country Club.

None of the other contenders were able to check Noren’s incredible rise up the leaderboard, with the final three-ball of Wang, local favourite Louis Oosthuizen and Andy Sullivan all struggling to get going.

Pars were the order of the day for Oosthuizen, who started the day three behind Wang, and the South African then fell six behind after a double-bogey at the par-three seventh when he got stuck in a greenside bunker.

Wang was a pale shadow of the golfer who had shot an incredible 64 in decidedly unfriendly conditions in the third round, a bogey on the fourth and two dropped shots on the par-four eighth undoing his birdies on the second and fourth holes.

Even though he birdied the par-five ninth to draw level with Noren, it was clear all the momentum was with one of the most in-form players on the European Tour.

It was a hammer blow for Wang when Noren eagled the 10th and when he sank a superb flop-shot for birdie after short-siding himself on 11, the look of disbelief he received from Henrik Stenson’s caddy said it all.

Back-to-back bogeys on 15 and 16 thanks to wayward tee shots were the final blows to Wang’s chances as the 21-year-old South Korean had to settle for second on eight-under-par.

Sullivan birdied the second hole, but he then made three bogeys to undo the two more birdies he made, finishing with a level-par 72 and in a tie for third, seven strokes behind Noren, with Branden Grace (70), Spaniard Alejandro Canizares (68), Frenchman Victor Dubuisson (68) and Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia (67).

Noren said his putter was his most outstanding club and it was hard to argue as his birdie putts on the first, seventh and eighth holes were all longer than 20 feet, as was his eagle putt on the 10th.

“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’ve never holed so many putts, I think on those first 11 holes, and I got a lot more excited,” Noren said.

Even though he registered his only bogey of the day on the par-five 14th, after a visit to the infamous love-grass, his victory – his fourth in his last 11 tournaments – was already secure by then.

The win keeps him in contention to win the Race to Dubai next weekend as he has vaulted into third place behind Stenson and Danny Willett, and 2017 will no doubt offer more titles for the newest member of the world top 10.

“I’ve been able to see what sort of game I could have and what I need to do to compete with the best. Today everything worked, but I still have a lot of work to do,” Noren said.

Stenson shot a two-under-par 70 on Sunday to finish in eighth place and will take a 300-point lead into the final event of the Race to Dubai next weekend.

Oosthuizen bogeyed on 16 and then double-dropped on the 17th to finish on five-under for the tournament and in ninth place.

Grace three-putted for a bogey on the last to slide back into the tie for third, a very costly lapse, but finished as the leading South African.

South Africa’s highest-ranked golfer did confirm that he is still determined to become the first local winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge since Trevor Immelman in 2007.

“I was very disappointed with the three-putt on 18, but tied third is my best finish here yet, and hopefully next year I can come back and improve on that,” Grace said.

http://citizen.co.za/sport/sport-golf/1343936/noren-producing-top-grade-golf-storm-lead/

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.

Africa Open overseas player profiles 0

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Ken

 

ANDY SULLIVAN

 

The former Walker Cup representative first sprang to prominence in 2014 with five top-10 finishes to end 33rd in the Race to Dubai. His successful year included a hole-in-one at the KLM Open, which won him a trip to space.

2015 has been a glorious year for him, beating home favourite Charl Schwartzel in a playoff, thanks to a superb approach shot from the Glendower rough, to win the SA Open, and then triumphing in the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington on a tense final day.

 

BORN – 19 May 1986

COUNTRY – England

TURNED PRO – 2011

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 7th

2015 RESULTS – 2 wins in Johannesburg at the SA Open & Joburg Open; T4 at Dubai Desert Classic

CAREER WINS –  2015 SA Open; 2015 Joburg Open

 

 

ALEX NOREN

 

His career has been hampered by injuries and he is currently on a medical extension having missed all but two events of the 2014 season due to tendonitis in both wrists. He won twice in 2011 and had seven top-10s in 2012.

He has a degree in Business Marketing from Oklahoma State University.

 

BORN – 12 July 1982

COUNTRY – Sweden

TURNED PRO – 2005

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 10th

2015 RESULTS – 2nd at Dubai Desert Classic, 9th at Qatar Masters & T11 at Thailand Classic

CAREER WINS – 2009 European Masters; 2011 Wales Open; 2011 Nordea Masters

 

 

ANDREW DODT

 

The winner of the inaugural Thailand Classic and the 2010 Avantha Masters in New Delhi, he is obviously comfortable in Asia having played there throughout 2014.

A native of Brisbane in north-eastern Australia, he started playing golf when he was four, at the local Gatton Golf Club.

 

BORN – 26 January 1986

COUNTRY – Australia

TURNED PRO – 2007

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 14th

2015 RESULTS – 1st at Thailand Classic; T36 at Malaysian Open

CAREER WINS – 2010 Avantha Masters; 2015 Thailand Classic

 

 

GREGORY BOURDY

 

Coming from a golf-loving family, he started played the game when he was four.

His Hong Kong Open triumph came when held off a charging Rory McIlroy and he also won the Wales Open with a hat-trick of birdies.

A keen visitor to South Africa.

 

BORN – 25 April 1982

COUNTRY – France

TURNED PRO – 2003

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 22nd

2015 RESULTS – T5 at Qatar Masters & Malaysian Open; T13 at Dubai Desert Classic

CAREER WINS – 2007 Mallorca Classic; 2008 Portugal Open; 2009 Hong Kong Open; 2013 Wales Open

 

 

THOMAS PIETERS

 

There are lofty expectations for the lanky Belgian after he won the NCAA Golf Championship while at college in the United States.

Lost to Miguel Angel Jimenez in a playoff at the Spanish Open in his rookie season last year, finishing 83rd in the Race to Dubai. Since then his ranking has risen into the top 25 on the order of merit.

Took up golf along with his whole family when they played when on holiday in South Africa in 1997.

 

BORN – 27 January 1992

COUNTRY – Belgium

TURNED PRO – 2013

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 24th

2015 RESULTS – T4 at Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship; T8 at Alfred Dunhill Championship; T16 Malaysian Open

CAREER WINS – 0

 

 

BYEONG-HUN AN

 

The son of two Olympic table tennis medalists, Jiao Zhimin and Ahn Jae-Hyung (she represented China and his father South Korea), An has been based in the United States for more than six years.

The youngest winner of the U.S. Amateur Championship when he triumphed in 2009, he followed another winner into Europe in Peter Uihlein.

 

BORN – 17 September 1991

COUNTRY – South Korea

TURNED PRO – 2011

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 27th

2015 RESULTS – T5 at Qatar Masters; T7 at Joburg Open; T12 at Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship; T13 at Dubai Desert Classic

CAREER WINS – 0

 

 

MORTEN ORUM MADSEN

 

Told the media after his memorable SA Open triumph at Glendower that his maiden win had given him more hunger but also greater calmness and no fear on the golf course.

Had seven top-20 finishes in his rookie season on tour, including a T4 finish at the Nelson Mandela Championship.

He comes from the same club, Silkeborg GK, as Thomas Bjorn, who he considers a role-model. Wanted to be a footballer, but his father finally managed to win him over to golf when he was 12.

 

BORN – 9 April 1988

COUNTRY – Denmark

TURNED PRO – 2011

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 29th

2015 RESULTS – T4 at Dubai Desert Classic; T12 at Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship; T16 at Alfred Dunhill Championship

CAREER WINS – 2014 South African Open

 

 

ANDREW JOHNSTON

 

Finished on top of the Challenge Tour rankings in 2014 and began this season on a high with a third-placed finish at Leopard Creek.

Known as “Beef”, he is a powerful driver of the ball.

 

BORN – 18 February 1989

COUNTRY – England

TURNED PRO – 2009

RACE TO DUBAI RANKING – 33rd

2015 RESULTS – 3rd at Alfred Dunhill Championship; T35 at Dubai Desert Classic

CAREER WINS – 0

 

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    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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