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Ken Borland

Six golfers lead heading into Tshwane Open final round 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Six golfers put themselves at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, sharing a one-shot lead as the Tshwane Open enters what will be a thrilling final round at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.

South Africans Wallie Coetsee, George Coetzee and Trevor Fisher Junior, as well as Scotland’s Craig Lee, Englishman David Horsey and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, are all on nine-under-par, one stroke ahead of locals Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen.

Lee, looking to claim his first European Tour title after some close misses in the past, fired a four-under-par 66 on Saturday to vault up the leaderboard, having started the day tied for 13th place.

Coetsee and Coetzee, both proud boereseuns, shot two-under-par 68s to claim a share of the lead, while Fisher Junior, looking for back-to-back European Tour titles after last weekend’s breakthrough win at the Africa Open, and Horsey both posted 69s.

Otaegui, who blazed to a 62 in the second round to claim a two-shot lead, had the least impressive round of the half-dozen leaders, battling to a two-over-par 72.

The 22-year-old was one-under for the round as he reached the ninth hole, but three bogeys in five holes followed.

“I played pretty well until the ninth. I missed the tee-shot on the left and had the wrong strategy and tried to go for the green. Then I made another couple of bogeys after that, but I’m happy and made a few good putts. I’m trying to keep the rhythm for better tee shots tomorrow.

“The fairways were a bit harder and the ball flew a bit longer. I played okay and I’m pretty confident for tomorrow,” Otaegui said.

The Pretoria Country Club faithful will certainly be behind Coetzee, a long-time member, and the one-time European Tour winner said the changes to his game that he has struggled to bed down over the last year are starting to produce the goods.

“Every day it gets a bit closer to what I want and today was the first time in a year I can say it was pure ball-striking. It’s nice to get the game gelling properly and local knowledge does help in terms of knowing exactly what to expect when I’m in trouble, but it’s not going to get me over the line,” Coetzee said.

The fairytale winner, however, would be Coetsee, the journeyman who is in his 23rd year as a Sunshine Tour pro and has just two titles to show for it. But since earning his Asian Tour card in a gruelling qualifying school in Thailand in January, the 42-year-old has gone on an astonishing run of form that has seen him finish tied second in the Joburg Open and tied-45th in the Africa Open, the R1.1 million he has earned in the last two weeks making up 26% of his career winnings!

“I’ve got my Sunshine Tour card, my Asian Tour card and now it’s time for the European Tour card. I’m hitting the ball so well and I love the pressure, it’s lekker. I took a lot out of leading the Joburg Open in the final round and finishing second. When something bad like that happens, you think it’s terrible at the time, but in the end it’s the best thing because you learn from your mistakes. But hopefully I don’t learn anything tomorrow!” the genial Coetsee joked.

The marketing gurus have come up with the slogan “It’s more than just golf!” for the Tshwane Open, and Fisher Junior can attest to that as his more relaxed attitude on the course, after his father succumbed to cancer two years ago, has seen the father of two gain perspective and take pains not to define himself through his golf.

The result has been a life-changing win at East London Golf Club and the possibility of another lucrative pay-day in Pretoria.

The likeable Modderfontein golfer is adept at rebounding from tough times and, after four bogeys in five holes from the third, he claimed back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, and three more on the back nine to join the leaders.

“It was tough today. You can see from the scores that no one moved today. If it’s gusty like this then you have to grind. The wind was all over the show. I think it was the windiest day here so far. It swirls so much that you don’t know what you’re doing with the yardages and the greens are quite firm, so it was tough to up-and-down.

“But I’m very happy with how I finished. If you said to me after six holes that I would finish with a one-under 69, I would have taken it. I started badly, but my swing felt good. I was a bit unlucky on a few holes and the putter was saving me,” Fisher Junior said.

Horsey, who shared the first-round lead with Morten Orum Madsen, who is one of a trio of European golfers on seven-under with Raphael Jacquelin and Edoardo Molinari, also managed to avoid the big numbers on a day when he struggled to get close to the flags, thanks in part to the tricky, shifting breeze at Pretoria Country Club.

“I didn’t give myself really good chances for birdie and struggled a bit with distance-control. It was difficult to get it close and that makes it hard to make birdie. All things considered it was a decent score and I’m reasonably pleased with how I am playing. The wind has been tricky for the last three days. It seems to pick up and drop, which made choosing the right club very difficult,” Horsey said.

The chase for the R2.9 million first prize is not limited to the top 11 golfers on seven-under or better though; South Africans Tjaart van der Walt, Justin Walters and Dean Burmester, and Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg, are all on six-under, just three shots off the pace.

Bumpy road for franchises as 1-Day Cup enters critical stage 0

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Ken

It’s going to be a bumpy road to the Momentum One-Day Cup playoff for the Dolphins, Lions and Titans, who are all in action on Friday night as the competition enters a critical stage with World Cup and SA A call-ups playing havoc with team selection for the franchises.

The Nashua Cape Cobras must rate themselves as being virtually assured of automatic entry to the final as they enjoy a nine-point lead at the top of the log with three matches to play.

Last season’s joint champions have won five of their seven matches, including an excellent five-wicket win over the bizhub Highveld Lions last week at the Wanderers, when they were missing a large proportion of their first-choice side.

But the fortunes of the three teams below them in the standings – the Dolphins (16pts), Lions (15pts) and Titans (13pts) – have fluctuated wildly and one of the franchises needs to get a solid run going in order to cement themselves into second place.

Lions coach Geoff Toyana will be hoping that it will be his team, that has been boosted by the return of several key players, that will take control of their destiny with victory over the Chevrolet Knights at the Wanderers on Friday, while Titans coach Rob Walter will be aiming for similar success as they take on the Cobras in Cape Town in a match-up that is a repeat of last season’s washed out final.

The fact that SA A play their next limited-overs match against the England Lions in Potchefstroom on Saturday means that Toyana is able to use star bowlers like Eddie Leie and Kagiso Rabada, while Hardus Viljoen is also fit again to further boost their attack and experienced campaigners Alviro Petersen and Thami Tsolekile also come back into the line-up.

Toyana said on Thursday that his team’s chances of possibly moving into second place will all come down to their ability to focus on their own skills and getting the execution of those right.

The Knights come to Johannesburg with their hopes of making the playoff all but gone after just one win in seven games, and they will be without key batsman Reeza Hendricks.

Toyana is not going to write them off, however.

“The Knights are a very dangerous team and very competitive in 50-over cricket. They can still get to 20 points so it’s a crunch game for us. If we don’t win then we’re not going to go far in this competition, so it’s important we do well and keep our destiny in our own hands,” Toyana toldThe Citizen on Thursday.

The Unlimited Titans travel to Newlands fresh from a morale-boosting win over the Knights in Kimberley, but are going to have to find replacements for key players like Marchant de Lange, Theunis de Bruyn and David Wiese, who are all with the SA A side.

Albie Morkel is set to make a return to domestic action and the Titans are going to have to decide, depending on pitch conditions, whether to play a second frontline spinner in Tabraiz Shamsi or another seamer in Ethy Mbhalati, while Graeme van Buuren (slow left-arm) and Grant Thomson (medium-pace) are both batting all-rounders competing for a single place.

The Titans will be hoping for more of the same from openers Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids, who put on 77 for the first wicket in 14.3 overs against the Knights.

The Cobras have more players unavailable than most, but they have been able to make do thanks to the excellent depth they enjoy down in the Western Cape.

Openers Richard Levi and Andrew Puttick have been making bucket-loads of runs, while this season has also seen Sybrand Engelbrecht make strong progress.

Justin Kemp, the old warhorse, can still cart the best of bowlers around the park, while Robin Peterson is another experienced, dangerous campaigner for the Titans to be wary of.

The Sunfoil Dolphins travel to Port Elizabeth to face a Chevrolet Warriors side that has been boosted by the return of Rusty Theron from a knee injury and the availability of Simon Harmer.

Both sides have been in danger of having their 50-over skills decomposing due to lack of use as neither of them have played in the Momentum One-Day Cup since the end of October, but while the Dolphins still have the title to aim for, the Warriors can realistically only build for next season having won just one of their five games thus far.

Against the strengthened Warriors attack, the Dolphins will be relying heavily on three hugely experienced batsmen – Morne van Wyk, Daryn Smit, who had his 31st birthday on Wednesday, and Vaughn van Jaarsveld, who turns 30 on Monday.

Titans lose by an innings but still top of log 0

Posted on March 05, 2015 by Ken

The Unlimited Titans were hammered by an innings by the Dolphins in the latest round of Sunfoil Series matches, but the log at the bottom of this article is not incorrect, the northern/eastern Gauteng side are indeed top of the standings as the four-day competition enters the new year.

While the Titans succumbed by an innings and 54 runs to the Dolphins at Kingsmead, coach Rob Walter believes he has the material to mount a serious title challenge in the premier domestic competition.

“It was disappointing the way we played in Durban, but specifically the way we played the week before when we thrashed the Knights in Bloemfontein has put us in a good position with two wins in four games. This competition is more about the games you win than the games you lose and the bowlers were outstanding in Bloemfontein, while Farhaan Behardien has certainly been one of the standout batsmen in the competition,” Walter told The Citizen.

The inconsistency of the Titans is what is threatening their title ambitions, however, with the bowlers performing poorly in Durban as they bowled the wrong lengths, and the batting also looking vulnerable at times.

The Titans’ next match, against the Highveld Lions, who are second, just 1.72 points behind them with a game in hand, is shaping up as a crucial encounter. That game only starts on January 15 though, with the Titans having a break as the Lions take on the Cape Cobras and the Warriors host the Dolphins from January 8.

Walter warned that the Dolphins, who have 27.08 points from two matches compared to the Titans’ 46.18 from four, will also be a big factor in the competition.

“That attack of theirs is very good, Kyle Abbott and Ryan McLaren are two international bowlers and their quality shone through against us. Their greater ability to execute their skills, in terms of landing the ball in the right area over and over again, makes them very good bowlers,” Walter said.

The Titans bowlers were nowhere near as accurate, although speedster Marchant de Lange and left-arm swing bowler Rowan Richards are both enjoying good campaigns.

De Lange has taken nine wickets in his last two innings and Walter says he is a much-improved bowler.

“Marchant’s done a helluva lot of work. He’s had patches of success before, but I’ve seen steady growth this season in him as a strike bowler. His pace is a trumpcard and as he goes up through the levels, he’ll have to become more consistent and better at executing his plans because top batsmen on good pitches deal with pace. But his skills have improved,” Walter said.




  P W L Tied Drawn Bat Bowl Penalty
The Unlimited Titans 4 2 2 0 0 14.18 12 0 46.18
bizhub Highveld Lions 3 2 1 0 0 12.46 12 0 44.46
Chevrolet Knights 4 2 1 0 1 9.52 13 0 42.52
Sunfoil Dolphins 2 1 0 0 1 11.08 6 0 27.08
Chevrolet Warriors 3 0 2 0 1 7.74 10 0 17.74
Nashua Cape Cobras 2 0 1 0 1 7.66 3 1 9.66


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