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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Consistent Fisher Jnr motors to victory with precision golf 0

Posted on November 13, 2015 by Ken

Trevor Fisher Junior played consistent precision golf as he motored to victory by five shots in the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Sunday, shooting a superb eight-under-par 64 in the final round.

The South African had started the day two shots ahead of Englishman Matt Ford, and he pulled away with a brilliant display that included nine birdies.

And it’s not as if Ford, a European Tour rookie, spluttered in the final round either: He shot an admirable five-under-par 67, but Fisher Junior’s dazzling effort consigned him to second.

Fisher Junior is one of the most popular golfers on the Sunshine Tour and there was a flood of congratulatory messages on social media after a triumph that means he will now be part of the European Tour until the end of 2016.

And the 35-year-old certainly showed that he has the game to win again on the European Tour, simply overwhelming the tricky coastal course to finish on 24-under-par for the tournament.

“I only had three bogeys for the week which is quite an achievement, that’s how you win tournaments by keeping bogeys off your card. My mindset was great, I didn’t let anything faze me, and I hit my long irons very well. All you want to do is give yourself a chance,” Fisher Junior said after a remarkable round that took his weekend tally to 17-under-par after a 63 on the third day.

Ford initially matched Fisher Junior with birdies at the first and third holes and actually closed to within one stroke when the Modderfontein golfer bogeyed the par-four fifth hole. Fisher Junior’s tee-shot found the fairway bunker just before the crest of the hill, and was close to the lip so he could only chip out short of the green, from where he three-putted.

But the response was swift as Fisher Junior matched Ford’s birdies at six and seven and then engineered a three-shot lead on the ninth hole.

Fisher Junior fired a four-iron to within 10 feet of the flag and nailed the birdie putt, while Ford missed a six-footer for par. From there the South African cruised to victory with further birdies on the 10th, 15th, 16th and 18th holes, finishing with a suitably spectacular 45-foot putt.

“The ninth-hole was a nice swing, I was suddenly three ahead. I hit a two-iron off the tee and then the four-iron was probably my shot of the week,” Fisher Junior said.

He has contended before in co-sanctioned tournaments, having tied for third in the 2012 Joburg Open and for fourth in the 2010 Africa Open, and has five other top-10 finishes, and admitted that he had perhaps tried too hard to win those tournaments.

Now, as a more mature man and a father of two, who has gone through the pain of losing his father to cancer two years ago, Fisher Junior knows there is much to life beyond golf and it helps him on the course.

“I don’t want to define myself through my golf, so I tried to be myself whether I’d played a good shot or a bad shot, just be a happy guy. I actually felt very comfortable out there, although I was a bit nervous towards the end,” Fisher Junior said.

He admitted that his imagination did start running wild at stages and he began preparing victory speeches in his head, but he was able to nip them in the bud and regain his focus on fairways and greens.

Fisher-Junior has now expanded his golfing horizons to the world stage and there are no doubt many exciting times ahead for him.

“I’ve tried so hard to get that European Tour card, for so many years. Obviously it’s a massive step for my career because that’s where all South African golfers want to be,” Fisher Junior said.

http://citizen.co.za/340380/where-all-south-african-golfers-want-to-be/

Brilliant Fisher Jnr roars to victory at Africa Open 0

Posted on November 02, 2015 by Ken

 

Trevor Fisher Junior roared to victory by five strokes in the Africa Open at East London Golf Club on Sunday, shooting a brilliant eight-under-par 64 to consign Englishman Matt Ford to second.

Ford, who led after the first two rounds, did little wrong but his five-under-par 67 was no match for Fisher Junior’s superb round, which gave one of the most popular golfers on the Sunshine Tour a long-awaited European Tour exemption.

The Johannesburg-based golfer expressed his joy at what could be a breakthrough triumph.

“I’ve tried so hard to get that European Tour card, for so many years. Obviously it’s a massive step for my career because that’s where all South African golfers want to be,” Fisher Junior said.

The crucial moment came on the par-four ninth hole when Fisher Junior fired a four-iron 10 feet from the flag and sank the birdie putt, while Ford missed a six-foot putt for par, leaving him three shots behind.

It proved too big a mountain for the European Tour rookie to climb and Fisher Junior was all class in holding off third-placed internationals Morten Orum-Madsen, Jorge Campillo and Eduardo de la Riva as well.

 

 



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