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Ken Borland



Floyd surely not far from breakthrough victory given recent form 0

Posted on July 01, 2024 by Ken

Talented 19-year-old golfer Kiera Floyd is surely not far from her breakthrough Sunshine Ladies Tour victory given her recent form, and this week’s Absa Ladies Invitational being played at her home course of Serengeti Estates may just give her that extra edge that leads her to her first professional title.

Floyd has finished in the top-10 of her last two events, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, while she also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, before shooting 84 in the final round to finish tied-15th.

And the good news for her is that the Serengeti layout is just her cup of tea. Floyd’s length and accuracy off the tee should see her prosper on the 5688m course.

“I’ve been playing Serengeti for many years and I’m really looking forward to this tournament. Serengeti has a lot of signature holes, which can make it a make-or-break situation. Just none of the holes are the same, there’s always something different thrown at you and usually a bunker in the way too,” Floyd says.

“It’s not a very open course, but it all depends on where you play it off the tee. It’s definitely not the same as the other courses we’ve played this season, for me it is special, I really like the layout and it has its own way of playing it.

“I’m feeling really confident, I’m playing really nicely at the moment. The course is a bit longer, which suits me because I am a long hitter. But I still have to play well, I can’t take things for granted just because it is my home course,” Floyd says.

The second-year pro has always quickly conquered the different levels of the game, and her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win cannot be far away judging by her previous achievements. Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up six top-10 finishes on tour.

But on a course with so many different layers of difficulty, she has identified staying calm during the inevitable tough times as the key element of her game that needs to improve for her to make that next step into the winner’s circle as a professional.

“I’ve struggled a bit in the past events with keeping my head up if I make a bogey or a hole does not go well. I need to be more consistent, put both nines together. You need that consistency so if you start on a roll then you can keep it going. I need to stay patient to get the ‘W’, just work my way through the course and whatever happens, happens,” Floyd said.

Her contemporary Gabrielle Venter won the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club three weeks ago, giving Floyd a lot of confidence she can make it back-to-back South African winners when the Absa Ladies Invitational gets underway at Serengeti on Thursday.

But there will be other winners providing a stiff challenge in the R1.2 million event as well, such as seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace, Germany’s Helen Kreuzer and India’s Tvesa Malik, already winners on tour this season, as well as strong South African challengers such as Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Cara Gorlei, and the consistent Alexandra Swayne from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has not finished outside the top-14 yet this campaign.

One could tell Venter was poised for big things … and she delivers with Royal Cape win 0

Posted on June 07, 2024 by Ken

CAPE TOWN – Judging by her two previous appearances on the Sunshine Ladies Tour, one could tell young Gabrielle Venter was poised for big things and the 19-year-old duly delivered on Friday when she won the Standard Bank Ladies Open in a thrilling battle with the experienced Kylie Henry at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Venter had finished tied-fifth in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and second in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge earlier this season, and on Friday she showed her enormous talent and mettle by shooting a superb four-under-par 70 to finish on nine-under-par.

It was enough to overtake 37-year-old Henry, a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, who had led after the first two rounds but could only post a level-par 74 on the final day, finishing on eight-under.

While the victory might not have been a big surprise for followers of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, Venter said afterwards she had no inkling her maiden professional win was on the cards until she was on the 18th green.

“Honestly I was not focusing on the win at all because if you do that too much then you lose focus on the actual golf,” Venter said. “So I didn’t know what the scores were at all, I was just focused on my own game. I felt my game was in place to win, but if it didn’t happen then I would just wait for the next time.

“The first time I saw a scoreboard was when I was putting on 18, I missed the birdie putt and then you expect the best from your opponent and I was ready for a playoff with Kylie.”

While Henry had the misfortune to bogey the last two holes, she had played a full part in cultivating an exceptional final day in the R600 000 event. The Scotswoman recovered from a a double-bogey on the par-four first hole, while Venter made birdie to immediately catch up with the leader; Henry regained the sole lead with a birdie on the third hole and she matched Venter’s four on the par-five fifth.

The lead switched on the sixth hole, however, as Venter birdied the par-four and Henry dropped a shot. Both golfers birdied the par-five seventh, but they were level again when the Bloemfontein Golf Club representative three-putted the par-three eighth.

But she regained the lead with a birdie on the ninth, before Henry pulled level again with a birdie on the par-five 11th. Venter struck back with a birdie on the 12th, but another three-putt on a par-three followed as both golfers left the 13th green on nine-under-par.

Henry birdied the par-five 14th to lead again, but Venter’s birdie-bogey-par finish was enough to pip the Investec Order of Merit leader, who closed par-bogey-bogey.

While Venter’s pure ball-striking off the tee deserted her a bit in the closing stages, she made a lot of key putts and her short game was amazing. While the back nine was a little unkind to her, she showed impressive patience to pull off the win.

“It was quite a struggle on the back nine, but for the entire season my all-round game has been good. This win really means a lot to me because it puts me into a position to win the order of merit, which I really want to do.

“I will also take a lot of confidence into the co-sanctioned events – the SA Open and the Joburg Open – and I’ve learnt that every shot counts at this level. Now I know I can win here. This tour is a great tool to do well enough to be invited overseas and play against the best,” Venter said.

Emie Peronnin of France shared second with Henry after shooting a fantastic 70 that kept the pressure on the two leaders to not slip up.

SA prodigy among a trio of leaders 0

Posted on May 08, 2024 by Ken

Kiera Floyd, a 19-year-old South African prodigy and Englishwoman Georgia Coughlin, who took to the sport late, are leading alongside Ellen Hutchinson-Kay, a Swede who came through the U.S. College system, after the first round of the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge at the Blue Valley Golf Estate on Wednesday.

The trio all started on the 10th tee and posted four-under-par 68s on a sweltering day in Centurion, giving them a one-stroke lead over six golfers on three-under on a congested leaderboard.

Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up three more top-10 finishes on tour.

On Wednesday Floyd birdied the 10th, 12th, 17th and 18th holes to go out in 33, and although the front nine proved more challenging, a birdie at the ninth saw her come home in one-under.

Coughlin only took up golf when she was 16 and living in Saudi Arabia, but by the time she was 23 she had a Ladies European Tour card.

The 28-year-old had a dramatic start with three birdies and a bogey in her first four holes, going out in 34 and then making further gains with birdies on the first and fourth holes. Coughlin closed bogey-birdie, as did Hutchinson-Kay and Floyd.

Hutchinson-Kay is a University of Mississippi graduate and she also turned pro last year. The 25-year-old finished just outside the top-10 in the previous Sunshine Ladies Tour event, the SuperSport Ladies Challenge.

On Wednesday, Hutchinson-Key did the bulk of her scoring in a fantastic run of four birdies in five holes from the 14th.

For Floyd, the back nine (her front) was also the time to capitalise.

“Today was a good day, I hit the ball really nicely and gave myself lots of opportunities, which you have to grab when you can. This course definitely suits us big-hitters, it’s always open and you can let go a bit. I was normally hitting seven-iron into the greens,” Floyd said.

“I didn’t give myself as much opportunity on the front nine, but I pulled through in the end, to finish with a tap-in birdie was really nice. I made two silly mistakes that cost me birdies, but that’s okay, you just have to move on. You need to keep level-headed and not get ahead of yourself.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour golfers showed their talents in impressive fashion on Wednesday at the oblong Blue Valley Golf Estate, despite the heat, with 27 of the 61-strong field finishing under-par. The increased opportunities provided by the tour are clearly paying off, and are attracting strong international competition, and it is thanks to partners like Fidelity ADT.

Wahl Bartmann, the CEO of Fidelity Services Group, said “As Southern Africa’s largest integrated security solutions provider, we are committed to uplifting and supporting women’s professional sport. Our partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour allows us to show our support tangibly and help create more opportunities for women in sport.” 

Renier von Zeuner, the Group Sponsorship Manager, added “We have been involved with the SA Open, as well as the Senior Tour, for a number of years, so adding a Sunshine Ladies Tour event to our portfolio is a tremendous privilege. We are honoured to contribute to the work done by the Sunshine Ladies Tour team, and incredibly proud of our group’s commitment to women’s sport.”

Competitiveness of Sharks youngsters on display after suspension of April 0

Posted on August 03, 2016 by Ken

 

The competitiveness of some of the Sharks’ youngsters will be on display early on in the Currie Cup with the suspension of Garth April for a breach of team protocol allowing 19-year-old Curwin Bosch an early chance to shine in the flyhalf position against the Pumas in Nelspruit on Friday.

The exact nature of April’s ill-discipline has not been revealed but it is obviously another blow to an exciting prospect whose game has gone dramatically backwards since his inclusion in the Springbok squad as more of an observer than anything else, culminating in a shellshocked display in the awful Wellington weather in the SuperRugby quarterfinal against the Hurricanes.

Bosch, a star member of the South African team at the Junior World Cup in June, made three appearances off the bench in SuperRugby, while he will have two debutants outside him in the backline in wing Neil Maritz and outside centre Lukhanyo Am.

“There’s great competition with the youngsters, which is fantastic. Hopefully we can expose them at that level and they will learn a lot. We’re blessed to have basically the same pack as in SuperRugby, which will give us great confidence, but there are a couple of new guys in the backline. But I’m very excited and positive about what lies ahead,” coach Robert du Preez said.

The former Springbok scrumhalf said he hoped some of the attacking ambition that was unborn in SuperRugby would now come to fruition in the Currie Cup.

“We had a good SuperRugby season, the focus was on sorting out our defence and I think we did that quite successfully, although we did leak tries towards the end of the competition. But the Currie Cup is certainly about attacking rugby, that’s our focus now. Defence is obviously a major part of what a team is about, but we want to play rugby that inspires,” Du Preez said.

Sharks team – Odwa Ndungane, Neil Maritz, Lukhanyo Am, Andre Esterhuizen, S’bura Sithole, Curwin Bosch, Michael Claassens, Philip van der Walt, Jean-Luc du Preez, Keegan Daniel (c), Stephan Lewies, Etienne Oosthuizen, Lourens Adriaanse, Franco Marais, Dale Chadwick. Bench: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Thomas du Toit, Ruan Botha, Tera Mtembu, Stefan Ungerer, Innocent Radebe, Heimar Williams.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.



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