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Ken Borland



Els wants local SA Open winner this year before big plans for next year 0

Posted on January 07, 2016 by Ken

 

 

Tournament ambassador Ernie Els is desperate for a local winner of the South African Open at Glendower Golf Club this year, but for next year’s event he has big plans to bring out Rory McIlroy and other top international golfers for the second oldest national open in the game, which starts on Thursday.

After three successive foreign winners of the South African Open – Andy Sullivan and Morten Orum Madsen at Glendower and Henrik Stenson at Serengeti, Els said on Tuesday that it was time for a team effort by the South Africans to ensure the prestigious trophy returns home.

“We’ve always prided ourselves on winning our national open, but for the last few years the foreigners have come and taken the trophy. I know it’s not a team competition, but I can guarantee you that the South African guys are going to pull together to try and take the trophy back because the foreigners are starting to take over. Branden Grace has not won it yet and I know he’s desperate to do it and I think George Coetzee is taking it very seriously this year as well. The local guys really want to win it,” Els said.

But from next year, Els himself will make it even harder for the home golfers as he plans to bring world number three and four-time major winner McIlroy over for the tournament.

“I’ve got Rory to commit to playing in the tournament, although I gave him some time to do it, a couple of years. For those top guys in the world, their schedule is so condensed, but I’m sure next year we’ll get him down here, maybe we’ll put him up in Cape Town for New Year’s.

“Rory has been such a great friend and supporter of our charities, as have other great players too. They’re all great lovers of South Africa, guys like Chubby Chandler and Lee Westwood are in Cape Town right now. I’m beginning to find my feet as the tournament ambassador and I want to make the field stronger. The top couple of golfers in the world have horribly busy schedules but I’m getting commitments from them,” Els said.

As for Ernie’s own game, the five-time winner of the SA Open had, by his own admission, an awful 2015, but he has spent many hours playing while also getting himself refreshed over the festive season.

“It was tough last year, as bad as it’s ever been, I missed some really short putts and I had tennis elbow. But I took time off, I feel refreshed and I feel up for it. I’d love to be in the top-50 again by the end of the year and I played a lot in December in Oubaai,” Els said.

 

 

Schwartzel pictures Glendower favourably despite agony there 0

Posted on November 12, 2015 by Ken

 

When Charl Schwartzel pictures Glendower Golf Club he does not see the agony of his final round collapse and playoff defeat against Andy Sullivan in the South African Open in January this year or his surrender of the lead in the previous edition of the second-oldest national open.

He sees a course he likes and has played well on, a course that suits his strategic approach to golf.

“I’ve finished second a few times in the South African Open and the title evaded me the last two years here, but Glendower is a course that suits me well and I don’t look at it as two disappointments here. I’m excited that I can come back to a place where I know I came close in the past, I have another opportunity on a course that has treated me well.

“Two years in a row I’ve had chances to win but there are a lot of good players out there and I know the more times I contend, I will eventually break through. But it’s a positive that I’ve come close at Glendower and I’ll come here in early January and prepare well. You have to play cleverly here, think your way around, it requires a lot of strategy and thinking, which is right down my alley,” Schwartzel said at Glendower on Wednesday when the classic old course was announced as the South African Open venue for the third straight year. The 2016 tournament will be from January 7-10.

Schwartzel squandered four shots in the last five holes of the 2015 SA Open and then lost on the first hole of the playoff to Sullivan. The previous Glendower SA Open saw Schwartzel leading by three shots four holes into the final round, before he faded to a 71 and finished three behind winner Morten Orum Madsen.

But the local favourite says he is not chained to the past and is looking forward to starting a fresh year at Glendower in the second week of 2016.

“I’ll have a good break now, I’m not playing any tournaments in December so it will be a nice long break and I feel that I need it. The physical factors are there, my long game is better than ever, but I need to build my confidence back up because you need confidence to win,” Schwartzel said.

The 31-year-old said he hopes the South African Open will continue to be the sort of tournament fathers tell their children about when they’re sitting on their knee, and he was delighted with the announcement of BMW as the new title sponsors.

“It’s even better news that BMW are now involved. When you see the passion of Ernie Els [tournament host] to play in it, it’s inspiring for the future generations. I hope guys like Louis Oosthuizen and Branden Grace feel the same as me, because I’m going to keep coming back and give it my all. I hope it works out this time, but if it doesn’t, I’ll try again,” Schwartzel said.

With South African golfers desperate to avoid a hat-trick of overseas winners, the fur is sure to fly at Glendower in January, especially if rumours of some huge foreign names coming to play turn out to be true.

 

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    James 1:5 - "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him."

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