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Ken Borland



Coetzee & Van Zyl on top as Millvale ‘torment’ ends 0

Posted on February 18, 2016 by Ken

 

George Coetzee and Jaco van Zyl are at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Chase to the Investec Cup final, but both are relieved that their torment on the beautiful but treacherous Millvale course is now over as the elite 30-man field relocates to Sun City for the last two rounds on the Lost City course.

Coetzee, who shared the overnight lead with Charl Schwartzel, shot a two-under-par 70 on Friday to go to six-under for the tournament, alone in front and projected to finish first in the Chase to the Investec Cup final standings, which would win him the bonus pool prize of a cool R3.5 million.

Van Zyl, after shooting 73 on the first day, produced Friday’s best round, a five-under-par 67 that lifted him to four-under overall, two shots behind Coetzee.

Both their rounds featured just one bogey, a six on the par-five sixth for Van Zyl and for Coetzee on the seventh, a remarkable effort on a course as tough as Millvale with its slick greens, plenty of water and a tricky wind.

“You’ve just got to try and stick around here, it’s a great test of golf with firm greens, the flags tucked away and a lot of water. If you start on the 10th then you have seven really tough holes on the trot from the 15th to the third and you just try for level-par.

“It should be a bit easier at Lost City on Saturday and Sunday, there’s a bit more scoring opportunities. I’m hitting the ball well, so I look forward to that,” Van Zyl, who was the inaugural Chase to the Investec Cup champion in 2013, said.

“I survived – it was another tough day,” Coetzee said. “I didn’t play as well today, but I scrambled and made pars. I drove the ball better yesterday, but I putted better today. I’m where I want to be, but there’s still a lot of golf to play.”

The Millvale course is hard enough without bad luck playing a part, but Van Zyl’s bogey on six came when a bee landed on his ball on his downswing and he put his second into the water, while Schwartzel, the co-leader after the first round, woke up with a painful shoulder and slipped down the leaderboard after shooting a 74.

It was a good effort by Schwartzel considering every shot had him in pain, but the 2011 Masters champion said he will be forced to withdraw on Saturday if anti-inflammatories can’t get the swelling down.

Schwartzel is four behind Coetzee, alongside Justin Harding, who has produced two sub-par rounds of 71 practically out of nowhere given his recent form.

Darren Fichardt, Dean Burmester and Jean Hugo, all long-time Sunshine Tour pros, are all on one-under-par and in a position to shake up the leaderboard over the weekend.

*Defending champion Lee-Anne Pace, South Africa’s highest-ranked women’s golfer, fired a three-under-par 68 to lead the Investec Cup for Ladies by three strokes over Monique Smit after the first round.

 

 

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.

http://citizen.co.za/344166/six-golfers-top-at-tshwane-open/

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 leads on his own, but local hopes still alive 0

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Ken

 

Englishman Matt Ford was able to make the Africa Open lead his own with a six-under-par 66 in the second round at East London Golf Club on Friday, but four South Africans made significant progress up the leaderboard to keep local hopes alive.

Ford is on 11-under-par at the midway stage, one stroke ahead of Spaniard Edoardo de la Riva, while Jaco van Zyl, who continues to make an impressive comeback from surgery on both knees last year, and Erik van Rooyen are leading the South African charge on eight-under-par, alongside Frenchman Gregory Havret.

The 36-year-old Ford started on the first tee at 7.05am when conditions were relatively calm compared to the blustery first day, and he was able to make four birdies on his first seven holes. His momentum was temporarily halted with a bogey on the ninth after he carted his tee-shot into the thick coastal bush, but he made up for that with a birdie on 10 and an eagle-two on the 12th hole.

“I played nicely today, I’m very happy. It’s been two good rounds and hopefully there are two to come. I gave myself plenty of opportunities and was inside 15 feet 11 times. I was just trying to hit good shots and take advantage of the slightly easier conditions,” Ford said.

Van Zyl’s knees are not only holding up well but, more importantly, his putter is too after he struggled last weekend at the Joburg Open, his final-round 66 including 33 shots with the short stick.

“I’m probably at about 70% of how well I can drive, but now I’m making the putts. I had 27 yesterday and 25 today. Yesterday was really tough though and I was very chuffed I managed to shoot two-under. It was a lot easier this morning, it was totally different today, a lot of the holes were into a little breeze but there were still quite a few holes to capitalise on,” Van Zyl said after his round that included five birdies, an eagle and just one bogey.

Former world top-10 golfer David Howell is still in contention on seven-under-par, alongside fellow Englishman John Parry, South Africans Neil Schietekat and Trevor Fisher Junior, Germany’s Maximilian Kieffer and Mark Tullo of Chile.

Van Rooyen started on the ninth hole and picked up two birdies on the back nine before bogeying the par-five first. But the 25-year-old who played college golf in the United States, then posted a band of birdies on his scorecard – five in the next six holes – to roar up the leaderboard.

Van Zyl and his fellow South African mates have a proud record to maintain in the Africa Open, with a foreigner not managing to win the title yet after seven editions of the tournament.

“I’ve got to take it one shot at a time and not get ahead of myself. But if I give myself as many opportunities as  I can to win, then it has to happen some time. But you’ve obviously got to play nicely and being in contention brings different pressures and expectations. But life will become a lot easier once I get a co-sanctioned win under the belt,” Van Zyl said.

 



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