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Ken Borland



Van Zyl ensures nothing kills his momentum in SA Open 0

Posted on January 08, 2016 by Ken

 

Jaco van Zyl made sure that neither the heat nor the hidden dangers of Glendower Golf Club killed his momentum as he soared into the first-round lead of the South African Open with a great round of seven-under-par 65 on Thursday.

The 36-year-old South African teed off from the 10th at 7am and started well with a birdie on the beautiful 436-metre par-four, and Van Zyl picked up further shots on the 13th, 15th and 16th holes to reach the turn on four-under. That quickly became seven-under as he birdied the par-four first hole and eagled the second, but then the heat and a blustery wind began to take their toll and Van Zyl dropped a shot on the seventh before regaining it with a birdie on the eighth.

“It was absolutely gorgeous for the first few holes today, there was not a breath of wind, it was nice and cool, so you really needed to capitalise early on. By the time we got to our eighth hole [the 17th], the wind really started picking up and it was warming up, so it just got so much tougher out there.

“It’s one of those golf courses that you go round and you think that it’s there for the taking, but as soon as you let your guard down a little, it bites. So you’ve always got to pick your safe targets off the tees and into greens,” Van Zyl said.

Another Gauteng golfer, Shaun Norris, also teed off from the 10th but 20 minutes earlier than Van Zyl, and he claimed second place with a six-under-par 66 that included an eagle on the 500-metre, par-five 15th.

South Africans Keith Horne and Jbe’ Kruger were the best of the afternoon golfers as they shot five-under-par 67s to share third place. Branden Grace fired a solid 69, while Retief Goosen was the best of the former champions with a 68 that included two double-bogeys.

But Glendower certainly showed her teeth for some of the other big names in the field, with defending champion Andy Sullivan slumping to a 75 after double-bogeys on the par-five second and par-three 17th holes.

Two-time champion Trevor Immelman and George Coetzee were also three-over-par, while Hennie Otto, the last South African to win the national open, in 2011, shot a birdie-less 76.

Five-time champion Ernie Els, who also started off the 10th, eagled the eighth but then three-putted for bogey on the ninth to finish with a 73.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Four South Africans have Ford in their sights 0

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Ken

 

Matt Ford produced another marvellous round on the second day of the Africa Open at East London Golf Club to lead going into the weekend, but he will have several dangerous pursuers, including four South Africans, in the second half of the co-sanctioned European/Sunshine Tour event.

Ford backed up his 67 in the first round with a six-under-par 66 on Friday and enjoys a one-stroke lead heading into the weekend on 11-under-par.

Kevin Phelan, who shared the first-round lead, and Richard Bland, who was one stroke back, both slipped down the leaderboard, but Ford still has 10 golfers within four shots of him.

Spain’s Edoardo de la Riva is second on 10-under-par after shooting a 66, a score which was matched by Jaco van Zyl and Erik Van Rooyen.  The pair leads the South African charge on eight-under-par alongside Frenchman Gregory Havret.

Two more locals, Neil Schietekat and Trevor Fisher Junior, are on seven-under and share sixth position with Maximilian Kieffer, Mark Tullo, David Howell and John Parry.

South Africans have won all seven previous editions of the Africa Open, and with Van Zyl, Van Rooyen, Schietekat and Fisher Junior all moving up the leaderboard, they have a good chance of continuing that streak.

The 36-year-old Ford has dreamed for a long time of competing on the European Tour, going back to Qualifying School 10 times before finally winning his card last November, and he is looking more and more comfortable at this level, managing to follow a low round with another one for the first time.

“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 after a round that featured six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys.

But how Ford handles the pressures of the unknown remains to be seen. Van Zyl, with 13 Sunshine Tour titles, has much more experience of winning, even though he is yet to claim a European Tour title, despite having six top-three finishes.

“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 one under the belt,” Van Zyl said.

The highlight of Van Zyl’s round, which began on the ninth hole, was a run of eagle-birdie-birdie from the third hole, and the 36-year-old said it was down to his putter.

“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.

The Dainfern Country Club representative, who is making an impressive comeback from surgery on both knees last year, says he just feels enormously comfortable at East London Golf Club, as long as he is not being blown off his feet by the wind.

“This course just suits my eye. It feels like even if I play 70% of my best I’ll still break par, while on some other courses you can be playing at 100% and still struggle to break par,” Van Zyl said.

Kieffer, a German, produced the round of the day with a top-class nine-under-par 63. He started with a bogey five on the ninth hole, but then went on a superb run of five birdies in seven holes on the back nine.

The front nine started with Kieffer draining a 15-foot putt for eagle on the par-five first hole and a trio of birdies followed to complete a dazzling round which lifted a relative rookie on the European Tour from a tie for 89th position right up to a tie for sixth.

Schietekat is starting to show the consistency on the tour that he showed as a teenager on the amateur circuit and he ensured he stayed in contention with a solid three-under-par 69.

“It was quite nice to have some calm weather this morning but I’m not hitting the ball exactly the way I want to. But my putting got me out of trouble and the draw worked nicely for me. Maybe something will happen this weekend … ” Schietekat said.

http://thesportseagle.co.za/sa-quartet-matt-ford-sights-africa-open/

Grace laughs off ‘iffy round’ as chasing pack catch him 0

Posted on February 16, 2015 by Ken

Alfred Dunhill Championship leader Branden Grace could only post a level-par 72 on Saturday as the chasing pack all but caught him at Leopard Creek, but the South African laughed it off as an “iffy round”.

Grace was five shots ahead after rounds of 62 and 66, but while Saturday’s third round was a struggle for him, it was a joyous breeze for golfers like Lucas Bjerregaard and the in-form Danny Willett.

Bjerregaard started the third round seven shots off the pace but is now in a fine position to continue the recent success of Danish golfers in South Africa, firing a marvellous six-under-par 66 to finish on 15-under, just one stroke behind Grace.

Willett also had an outstanding round, with three birdies on the front nine and four on the back, his only blemish being a double-bogey six on the ninth, as he leapt into third place on 14-under.

Francesco Molinari, in second place overnight, was two under through 10 holes, but he was cowed by the back nine, unable to pick up another shot and was overtaken by Bjerregaard and Willett.

The highlight of the day was Bjerregaard’s roaring finish, the 23-year-old coming in with three successive birdies, following an eagle on the famous par-five 13th.

“It’s a great position to be in and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. After seven or eight holes it definitely didn’t look like I was going to be in this position, so it was nice to turn things around and play a really solid back nine,” Bjerregaard said.

Grace, in contrast, bogeyed the 17th and had to save par on the 18th to limp home, but he was still in good spirits at the end of a tough day. Overcast conditions meant the usual blistering Lowveld heat was absent, but the golfers had to contend with the wind picking up and the ball not travelling as far in the cooler temperatures.

“It was a tough day, but I didn’t play too badly, I wouldn’t call it a bad round. It’s not as if I’m going to the range to try and find something, there’s not much I need to work on. I’ll take the positives into the final round, I’m still ahead and I’ll come with a positive frame of mind tomorrow [Sunday].

“I’m still hitting the ball well, I just need to make better decisions. You always expect one iffy round in a tournament and if that was it then I’m alright with it,” Grace said after an up-and-down round with four bogeys and four birdies.

Bjerregaard actually started his round with a bogey to immediately fall eight shots behind the leader, but there was little fuss from the tall, muscular golfer as he went out in 35 with two birdies and one more dropped shot, before catching fire on the back nine. Blessed with a hot putter, he made hay while the sun didn’t shine.

“I putted really well. Made good ones on 16 and 17, both were about six metres. I didn’t make any really long ones, but I made some good par putts on the front nine, a couple of six-footers to make par and keep things going,” he said.

The strangely cool weather looks set to give way to a typical scorcher in Malelane on Sunday and, while Grace has led wire-to-wire thus far, the threat is writ large from several golfers below him.

Even the little-known Englishman Andrew Johnston is in the mix after he eagled the 18th to complete a 68 that put him on 12-under.

Louis Oosthuizen also eagled the last hole after a magnificent seven-iron to five feet and he is also not out of the running on 10-under-par after a 68.

http://citizen.co.za/292937/grace-post-level-par-72-alfred-dunhill-championship/

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