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Ken Borland

Relaxed J-Bay lifestyle rubbing off on Wallie’s golf 0

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Ken


Wallie Coetsee enjoys walks on the Jeffreys Bay beach most mornings with his two daughters and a braai at night, and the relaxed lifestyle certainly seems to be rubbing off on his golf as the 42-year-old cruised into the lead midway through the lucrative Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club on Friday.

Coetsee added a six-under-par 65 on the West Course to the brilliant 66 he shot on the East Course on the first day to go to 12-under-par and he will be chased on the weekend by three golfers on 11-under – Simon Dyson, Garth Mulroy and Tjaart van der Walt – as well as Niclas Fasth and Anthony Wall on 10-under and Kristoffer Broberg, Alexander Noren, Thomas Aiken and Stuart Manley on nine-under.

Coetsee was off to a fast start on Friday as he birdied the first three holes but, after 23 years on the Sunshine Tour, he knows that there will be times when a patient approach is best.

Another birdie on the par-four sixth was followed by a bogey on seven, and Coetsee then just sat tight through a run of seven successive pars.

“I was very patient and my game plan was just to leave the tough pins, go for the safer side. You can’t attack every flag, there’s going to be a time to go and a time to be safe. Patience is the key, you can’t force things, it will happen,” Coetsee said.

And when it did happen the reward was a spectacular eagle on the 489-metre par-five 15th, followed by a birdie on the par-four 17th that gave Coetsee a one-stroke lead.

“I’d had very good up-and-downs on 13 and 14, and then on 15 I hit a very good drive and had 218 metres to the flag. I hit a four-iron pin-high, five or six metres from the hole and sank the putt,” Coetsee explained, before giving the credit for a calm approach on the golf course to a relaxed lifestyle off it.

“We don’t have a TV at home in Jeffrey’s Bay, we’d rather walk on the beach or ride our bikes and my recent form has everything to do with the lifestyle. We’re in bed by eight, we’re reading books, I’m up early either to walk on the beach at six with Zoe and Kelly before school or I can go and practice very early,” Coetsee said.

Dyson, a six-time European Tour winner and a former member of the world’s top 30, produced a top-class round of 67 on the tough East Course to climb the leaderboard into a share of second.

A return to the Srixon clubs Dyson used a couple of years ago is clearly paying off.

“I’m back to the clubs I used a couple of years ago. My swing was good and I was playing really nicely, but I just didn’t know how far the ball was going with my previous clubs. And it’s nice to be able to see the yellow Srixon ball the whole way in the flight and it obviously helps on the greens.

“I’m very pleased, I’ve had quite a few birdies on the first two days and that hasn’t happened for a while, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in over the weekend,” Dyson said.

The saddest story of the day was the cruel fate that befell Nic Henning, whose course record equalling 62 on the first day not only gave him the lead but also seemed to have set up another veteran who has endured a grim few years for a decent payday.

Henning began the day well enough with a birdie on the East Course’s 472-metre par-five opening hole, but alas, it all fell apart thereafter.

The 45-year-old carded four successive bogeys from the fifth hole and in a trice he had crashed to six-under-par overall and was already flirting with the cut line as he reached the turn in 40.

He birdied the par-four 11th, but then his ball was swallowed by the pond on the 13th, leading to a double-bogey, and further dropped shots on the 16th and 18th condemned him to a 78 that saw the first-round leader miss the cut, on four-under, by one stroke.

The fact that the cut was so low, equalling the lows of 2011, 2012 and 2013, shows that most golfers feasted on a cooler day in Linksfield with very little wind.

Englishman Wall helped himself to an eagle on the first hole of the East Course and followed up with three more birdies before the turn. He dropped a shot on the par-four 10th, but then further birdies on the 16th and 18th holes gave him a 66 that left him just two strokes behind Coetsee.

Van der Walt, another South African veteran, was also off to a fast start on the East Course with four birdies on the front nine, but the inward loop was a bit tougher and the 40-year-old carded two bogeys and a par. But his 69 was still good enough to leave him in a tie for second.

“It was one shot at a time, stereotypical golf, because you can’t get ahead of yourself on this course. It was a bit more difficult to read the greens today, it was a struggle to pick the lines. But I’m hitting the ball well enough,” Van der Walt said.

Mulroy followed the pattern of the other golfers on 11-under with three birdies on the front nine and then two birdies and a bogey returning to the clubhouse. The winner of the 2011 Alfred Dunhill Championship is clearly one of the main threats to Coetsee.

The defending champion, George Coetzee, is just four strokes off the lead after a 69 on the East Course left him on eight-under, while Richard Sterne, the 2008 and 2013 champion, is in the group on six-under.

Darren Clarke, the newly-announced European Ryder Cup captain, missed the cut after a 72 on Friday left him on one-over-par for the tournament.


Rossouw proves himself against lightweight West Indies 0

Posted on April 23, 2015 by Ken

Rilee Rossouw proved his credentials with the World Cup just around the corner as he lashed a great century to take South Africa to a massive 361 for five in the rain-shortened fifth Momentum One-Day International against the West Indies at SuperSport Park in Centurion on Wednesday.

Midway through their run-chase, the West Indies had done little to divorce themselves from the perception that they are lightweights in comparison to the Proteas as they stuttered to 115 for three in 21 overs in reply, leaving them with an unlikely 250 runs to win from 126 balls.

And there will be no cavalier innings from Chris Gayle to rescue them either as the big-hitting left-hander was out to the first ball of the innings.

Kyle Abbott sent down a rather wretched loosener, short and very wide outside off stump, which Gayle flashed at and umpire Sundaram Ravi called wide. The South Africans were convinced, however, that the batsman had nicked the ball and called for a review, receiving a positive verdict from third umpire Steve Davis.

Narsingh Deonarine and Dwayne Smith then added 77 from 77 balls for the second wicket, but it was hardly a hair-raising time for the South Africans with the comfort of such a large total on the board.

There was some disappointing bowling from Abbott in particular, but Wayne Parnell joined the fray in the eighth over and suggested that his game is there or thereabouts as he bowled three tidy overs for just nine runs.

There was some respite for the home side when Aaron Phangiso trapped Smith lbw for 31 with a straight one, and it all went horribly wrong for Deonarine in the left-arm spinner’s next over when he was run out for 43, losing his bat in the process as he tried to beat Hashim Amla’s whirlwind throw from short fine leg.

Marlon Samuels (22*) and Denesh Ramdin (11*) were working the ball around in a stand of 32 for the fourth wicket, but they had an awful amount of work to do if they were to challenge South Africa’s total.

Rain had delayed the start of play for two-and-a-half hours and saw the match reduced to 42 overs a side, and the West Indies won the toss and sent South Africa in to bat.

Rossouw helped himself to a career-best 132 off just 98 balls, with nine fours and eight sixes, and Amla cruised to yet another century, scoring a fine 133 off 105 deliveries.

Rossouw and Amla added 247 for the third wicket off just 181 balls, a record third-wicket partnership for South Africa and equalling their own mark for the best stand for any wicket that they set in the second ODI at the Wanderers.

It was another top-class batting display by the South Africans, even with big gun AB de Villiers having a rest, as they laid a solid platform on a tricky pitch and then launched a spectacular late onslaught.

A couple of wickets had fallen in the first 10 overs as Quinton de Kock (4) and Faf du Plessis (16) fell to horizontal-bat strokes on a pitch that provided enough awkward bounce to make those shots difficult.

Amla once again looked in a class apart as he reached a 49-ball half-century in the 21st over, midway through the innings with South Africa on 109 for two, while Rossouw, who has endured a troubled ODI career thus far, struggled through to his 50 off 60 balls.

But those early miscues all seemed a lifetime ago as Rossouw then blossomed in spectacular fashion, needing just 23 more deliveries to register his second century of the series.

The left-hander raced past Amla and looked every bit a power-hitter as he smashed 82 runs off his last 38 balls.

Amla just kept on amassing runs as he has all series, except in this innings he was able to do it in half-dozens at a time, clearing the boundary six times to go with his 11 fours, showing that even a great batsman like him has had room to improve his game.

The West Indies were bleeding runs horrifically as the sun shone brightest on its way to the western horizon, bathing SuperSport Park in a sepia light befitting a display that was one for the ages.

The last 147 runs of the Amla and Rossouw partnership came off just 69 balls … and that by two batsmen who are not renowned for being big boundary-hitters.

Finishers David Miller (23 off 9) and JP Duminy (18* off 7) were left with only a handful of overs to bat but they collected their share of boundaries as 87 runs were hammered in the last five overs.

With the bounce providing something for the bowlers to work with – which the West Indians failed to do – South Africa’s total is certainly well over par. But they will be wary that Chris Gayle is probably due a score in this series.


Donald two ahead of Fisher midway through front nine 0

Posted on January 14, 2015 by Ken

Luke Donald held a two-stroke lead over Ross Fisher midway through the front nine on the third day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City on Saturday.

The Englishman had played solidly, avoiding trouble through his first six holes, and he added one birdie to his tally when he found the middle of the green on the 195-metre par-three fourth hole and sank a lovely 20-foot putt.

Englishmen held the top three places on the third-round leaderboard, with Fisher gaining a stroke and moving to nine-under-par, while Danny Willett was in great touch, picking up three birdies in seven holes to move to eight-under-par.

Alexander Levy, playing in the final three-ball with Donald and Fisher, also birdied the par-three fourth, but found himself in trouble on the third and sixth holes, the Frenchman dropping shots on each to slip back to fourth place on five-under-par.

Three golfers were in a tie for fifth on four-under: South African hope Charl Schwartzel, an inspired Thongchai Jaidee and Germany’s Marcel Siem.

Coetzee & Fisher top of the leaderboard 0

Posted on January 09, 2015 by Ken

South Africa’s George Coetzee and Englishman Ross Fisher were on top of the leaderboard midway through the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Thursday.

The pair were on five-under-par through 10 holes, two strokes ahead of Englishman Danny Willett and Charl Schwartzel on three-under, while five golfers were on two-under – veteran Miguel Angel Jimenez, Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Jamie Donaldson, Brooks Koepka and Alexander Levy.


Fisher masterclass: Nedbank Golf Challenge update

Both Coetzee and Fisher relied on precision iron play to collect five birdies, with no bogeys, and they vaulted into the lead around the turn with a pair of birdies on the par-five ninth and 10th holes.

Thailand’s Aphibarnrat had provided plenty of entertainment for the Sun City spectators as he claimed an early share of the lead when he played the first five holes in three-under-par, with four birdies and a bogey. Coetzee claimed birdies on the first three holes to provide early cheer for those hoping for a first South African winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge since Trevor Immelman in 2007.

The opening holes of the European Tour event held few worries for the golfers as Joost Luiten, Dawie van der Walt, Stephen Gallacher and Willett all picked up an early brace of birdies.

READ MORE: Coetzee stays in Sun City hunt

FILE PICTURE: George Coetzee. (Photo by Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images)

Van der Walt, in the field by virtue of winning the 2013 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, made the fastest start of all by birdieing the first hole and then chipping in for eagle on the 520m par-five second, but he could not pick up any more shots on the next three holes, dropping a stroke on the par-three fourth after finding the greenside bunker and then leaving his chip way past the hole. Another bogey on the eighth left him on one-under-par, alongside Gallacher.

A disastrous triple-bogey seven at the 11th saw Luiten slump to one-over-par for his round.

Thomas Bjorn, the defending champion, started where he left off last year in his brilliant final-round 65 by birdieing the first hole, but his wayward hitting saw him go out in three-over 39 as he collected a double-bogey and two bogeys thereafter.

South African Tim Clark, who teed off in the first group, set the early pace with birdies at the first two holes, but he then lost his way with a bogey at the fifth and a double-bogey at the tricky par-four eighth, before getting back under par with birdies at the 10th and 11th holes.

Aphibarnrat, a Sun City rookie, showed that he had all the information he needed on the Gary Player Country Club course as he started birdie-birdie, but Coetzee stayed in contact.

The conditions at Sun City were close to perfect, a slight breeze helping to offset the heat, and the golfers took advantage with 17 of them under par.

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