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Ken Borland



Keeping aggressive attitude leads to untroubled win for Shubhankar 0

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Ken

 

Shubhankar Sharma, the winner of the weather-disrupted Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club on Monday, said he worked hard on keeping an aggressive attitude on the course and, as a consequence, the rising Indian star never looked in trouble as he sealed a three-shot victory on 23-under-par.

The tri-sanctioned tournament had to be completed on Monday morning due to the fourth afternoon being almost entirely washed out, and it made for an anxious wait for Shubhankar, who led by four shots overnight.

“I obviously did not sleep last night, I woke up four times, every couple of hours, because it was raining so hard. There were a lot of nerves beforehand, absolutely, because if you are chasing then you have nothing to lose, but if you are leading then you can only maintain that.

“But I was really calm once I got going, I just stuck to my game-plan and kept saying to myself to be aggressive, I never wanted to defend my lead. I set myself a target of finishing 25-under, but 23-under will do. I just kept imagining that I was three shots back,” Shubhankar said after his first victory outside of India.

As impeccable as his golf was – the accuracy of Shubhankar’s driving was particularly impressive – the standout feature of the 21-year-old’s tournament was his composure and he obviously has a very good head on his shoulders, showing maturity beyond his years.

While having one of the hottest putters in the 240-man field obviously helped a great deal in accumulating 26 birdies over the week, the absence of bogeys in his last three rounds is what pleased Shubhankar most.

“I hit the ball good and putted very well, but the up-and-downs I made the whole week were very crucial. Those par-saves get your round going and I made vital pars on 10, 13 and 15 today. Not having any bogeys was one of my main objectives today and not dropping any shots over the last three days is what makes me most happy, that’s good golf and the best part of my win,” he said.

Shubhankar resumed his round on the eighth hole on Monday and the looming presence of South African Erik van Rooyen meant he could not relax, even after birdieing the par-four ninth hole from 25 feet.

Van Rooyen shot a brilliant 66 to finish second, but Shubhankar notched pars all the way home to ensure he did not provide a back door for the chaser to slip through.

Van Rooyen said he was “really proud” of his effort but “I just could not squeeze any more birdies the way I wanted to”.

Fellow South African Shaun Norris also had plenty of reasons to smile as he roared through the field with a 65 to finish tied for third with Finland’s Tapio Pulkkanen (68). Both Van Rooyen and Norris, who pipped Pulkkanen due to his better world ranking, qualified to join Shubhankar at next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-africa-sport/sa-golf-sport/1755454/it-pays-off-to-be-aggressive-says-joburg-open-winner-sharma/

Lorgat optimistic that Windies tour will not be disrupted 0

Posted on November 25, 2014 by Ken

Cricket South Africa counted the cost last year of their summer of Test cricket being disrupted, but CEO Haroon Lorgat is optimistic that the current troubles between the West Indies and their administrators will not lead to another international tour to these shores being severely curtailed or cancelled.

The West Indies team are currently on strike and at loggerheads with both their own players’ association (Wipa) and the board (WICB), having pulled out of their tour to India after just four ODIs. If the impasse is not resolved before December, then they may have to send a second-string outfit to South Africa or the tour might be cancelled.

But Lorgat is confident that the issues will be resolved and the best West Indian team will tour, particularly if they accept the offer of assistance from the Federation of International Cricketers Association (Fica), headed by South African Tony Irish.

“I’ve spoken to the West Indies board in the last 24 hours and they are reasonably confident that they will be able to keep their promise and tour here. I’m optimistic that they’ll be able to work through their issues.

“In two weeks’ time the RamSlam T20 Challenge starts here and I was told that the NOCs [No-Objection Certificates] would be granted to the West Indian players involved. There are some big players coming here, including captain Dwayne Bravo, and I’ll be able to talk to them then.

“Plus Tony Irish has offered his assistance, so there are many angles we can work from. The West Indian players are always keen to come to South Africa, so although it’s early days and there’s still lots of emotion, I’m quite confident that we’ll get things worked out,” Lorgat told The Citizen yesterday.

An important ace in CSA’s hands is that the tour to South Africa is the West Indies’ last before the World Cup and Lorgat said there is an eagerness amongst the Caribbean players to perform in that showpiece event.

“The players don’t want to miss out on the World Cup so I’m sure sanity will prevail. It could have been worse: it’s an explosive situation that has been simmering for a while and it could have happened while they were in South Africa!” Lorgat pointed out.

The current strike is the fourth to have affected West Indies cricket over the last decade or so and is centred on Wipa president Wavell Hinds signing a new collective bargaining agreement that results in a significant paycut for the players, as high as 70% for some.

The WICB are now holding the players to that signed contract. Wipa happens to have acted similarly a few years ago when the then-WICB chief executive mistakenly signed a deal giving the players $35 000 more per match-day.

Irish, who rose to the post of executive chairperson of Fica in June, told The Citizen that he had to offer his assistance because “the implications of this issue go far beyond West Indies cricket”.

 

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