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Ken Borland

Henry keeps her round on track to win as crosswinds whizz around Fancourt 0

Posted on March 13, 2024 by Ken

GEORGE, Western Cape – With crosswinds whizzing over the Montagu fairways on the back nine, Kylie Henry was best able to keep her round on track as she sealed a two-stroke victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt on Sunday.

Henry was two strokes off the lead at the start of the final round, but the other leading contenders spluttered along on the third day. Even though the Scotswoman went out in one-over-par 37, a string of six successive pars on the back nine saw her claim a share of the lead with Ana Dawson, who had led after both the first and second rounds.

And then, as the pressure mounted and Dawson missed some crucial putts, Henry pounced with key birdies on the par-four 16th and 18th holes. It was her first professional win since 2014, when she won twice on the Ladies European Tour, and the 37-year-old said she was delighted to get back on the winner’s podium after a couple of tough years.

“It means so much to me, I have been playing for a long time, this is my 15th season on tour. But the last couple of seasons have been really tough. I broke my elbow and then last year was just very difficult for me personally and my golf suffered as a result,” Henry said.

“To get my golf game back makes me so happy. It was tricky out there today, there were a lot of crosswinds on the back nine, and I knew I just had to commit to my shots. I managed to keep doing that and I sank some good putts as well.”

Henry was tied for second with Alexandra Swayne going into the final round, and Swayne had a level-par front nine on Sunday, but her back nine was a car-crash with a run of double-bogey, bogey, bogey from the 11th hole. She finished tied for ninth on six-over-par after an 80.

Dawson, despite dropping shots on the 11th and 12th holes, was just one shot behind Henry when she teed off on the final hole. But she drove into the trees, and then ricocheted off another tree trying to come out with her second. Eventually she had to settle for a bogey-six, which left her in a tie for third on level-par with Romy Meekers, who fired an outstanding 67, the best round of the day by four shots.

There were birdie chances available for Dawson in the middle of the back nine, but she had struggles with her putter.

Local stalwart Lee-Anne Pace stepped up on the final day by shooting a level-par 72 and getting herself into contention. She once again eagled the par-five ninth and also birdied the 18th, but Henry did not give her an opening and Pace had to settle for second place on her own, on one-under-par.

Wind gets up, but so does Naidoo to go top of leaderboard 0

Posted on January 05, 2023 by Ken

BALLITO, KwaZulu-Natal – The wind got up on the back nine but so did Dylan Naidoo as the promising young golfer soared to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun Sibaya at the Umhlali Country Club on Wednesday.

Naidoo was level-par after the front nine, but blazed his way back to the clubhouse with five birdies, picking up back-to-back shots on both the 10th and 11th holes and the last two holes of his round, for a five-under-par 66.

That left him one stroke clear of the group of six golfers on four-under-par 67 – Nikhil Rama, Kyle McClatchie, Jaco Prinsloo, Rhys West, Richard Joubert and Lindani Ndwandwe.

The patience the 24-year-old showed in not letting the back-to-back bogeys he made on the par-five fifth and par-three sixth holes lead to frustration was the most impressive aspect of his round.

“On the front nine the weather was pretty benign, but I knew the wind would pick up,” Naidoo said. “After the bogeys, you start thinking ‘I’m one-over on the easy bit where there’s no wind’, but I was playing super-solid golf and I’d had a couple of unlucky breaks.

“So I just needed to keep playing the way I’d been playing and it all fell into place nicely on the back nine. I’ve been playing really well lately and it’s just that final part on the scoreboard that’s lacking.

“But you can’t force things, you have to let the score happen. You can’t take on flags that you don’t need to because that just leads to compounding errors instead of multiplying birdies.

“You don’t have to play perfect golf to be at the top of the leaderboard, and I’ve shown nice progression in understanding that. Long may it continue,” Naidoo said.

Umhlali Country Club was established in 1960 as a nine-hole course, but the acquisition of the design services of Peter Matkovich in 1970 led to the birth of the current 18-hole course.  It may be short, but it is undulating and there is plenty of water, so the golfers are going to earn their keep in this three-round, R1 million Sunshine Tour event.

Strydom does the business with ‘most solid’ nine holes of his career 0

Posted on December 11, 2022 by Ken

Ockie Strydom with the Alfred Dunhill Championship trophy after he did the business in highly impressive fashion on the back nine at Leopard Creek.
Photo: Ken Borland

Ockie Strydom had been runner-up 19 times and won just once on the Sunshine Tour, but the 37-year-old did the business in highly impressive fashion on the back nine in the final round to win the Alfred Dunhill Championship by two strokes at Leopard Creek on Sunday.

Remarkably, it was a double-bogey on the par-four ninth that sparked Strydom, as he responded immediately to losing the outright lead with two brilliant approach shots, after crunching drives, to set up back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th holes.

Strydom short-sided himself on the ninth with his approach to the left of the flag, the ball spinning back into the water.

But he recovered to produce an impeccably solid back nine, with further birdies on the 13th and 14th holes and seldom looking in any danger of dropping a shot.

“It was probably the most solid nine holes I have played,” Strydom said. “After the double, I said to my caddy Jaris [Kruger, his brother-in-law], that it’s fine, we are still in there and we can pull it back.

“And then we did it in the first two holes of the back nine and just kept the foot on the pedal after that. I’ve been in this situation a lot and I know how to manage it. I was just able to go back to the game I know.

“I’ve put in a lot of hard work on my mental toughness and Jaris is a legend who really helped me. We discussed everything and I didn’t play any silly shots,” Strydom said.

Strydom closed with a three-under 69 to finish on 18-under-par, and while the victory was relatively easy in the end – “having a three-shot lead tends to take the nerves away,” Strydom admitted – the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate representative had numerous challengers to worry about through his round.

Scott Jamieson was tied for the lead with Strydom overnight and it was only after eight holes that the experienced Scotsman slipped behind never to return. Jamieson bogeyed the last three holes to post a 76 and finish in a tie for 11th on 11-under, on a final day in which he just never loosened up.

Dean Burmester, two behind at the start of the day, cut the gap to one when he curled in a 27-foot birdie putt on the 10th, but he immediately dropped a shot on the 11th and could only post a level-par 72 to finish on 13-under, tied for seventh with Louis Oosthuizen, who eagled the 11th and also picked up birdies on the 13th and 15th holes to get to 14-under and provide a brief threat. But the 2005 runner-up finished par-par-bogey.

Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, a four-time European Tour winner, produced the only bogey-free round of the day to put Strydom under the most pressure.

Otaegui, beginning the day on 12-under, moved to within a shot of the lead with birdies on the second and third holes, and picked up another shot on the par-four 11th. But crucially, he could not gather any other birdies coming in, until he scored a four at the par-five closing hole.

His 68 left him on 16-under and alone in second place, one shot ahead of Englishman Laurie Canter, whose 64 was the low round of the day. He started with a bogey, but then fired seven birdies and an eagle at the par-four sixth to claim third place.

South Africans Oliver Bekker (71) and Branden Grace (70) at times applied pressure, but both had crucial misses on the back nine as they finished on 14-under, sharing fourth place with Canadian Aaron Cockerill (69).

South African MJ Daffue and Frenchman David Ravetto rounded out the top-10 on 12-under-par, both closing with 69s.

Strydom, the man of the day, however, now has a DP World Tour exemption for two years, when his goals for 2023 were a bit lower – the Challenge Tour.

“It means everything to me, all the South Africans on the Sunshine Tour dream of winning a co-sanctioned event and I always wanted to do it here,” Strydom said.

“I had planned to play a bit on the Challenge Tour, but it has all just changed in the space of a week. I probably need to do some fresh planning.

“My Dad said he would be satisfied if I win one of these co-sanctioned events, I’ve finally done it and to do it at Leopard Creek feels extra good.

“‘Winner of a co-sanctioned event’ has a nice ring to it, but I’m not sure I’m ready for it,” the perennial bridegroom laughed.

Judging by his performance on Sunday afternoon, Strydom looks ready for anything.

Mostert produces bogey-free back nine for maiden Sunshine Tour title 0

Posted on July 22, 2022 by Ken

IRENE, City of Tshwane – Dylan Mostert showed great mental composure and produced a bogey-free back nine for his maiden Sunshine Tour title on Sunday, as he won the KitKat Group ProAm at Irene Country Club by three strokes.

Mostert shot a fantastic 68 in the final round for a 17-under-par total of 199, three clear of MJ Viljoen (67), to become the fourth first-time winner on tour this season.

A bogey on the par-five second hole made for a nervous start for the left-handed Mostert, but he showed he was up for the challenge when he chipped in for birdie on the third in superb fashion on the undulating green.

Malcolm Mitchell went out in three-under 33 to make for an exciting challenge for Mostert, but the 23-year-old from Modderfontein Golf Club birdied the ninth and then produced a fabulous hybrid approach shot from under the trees, in the dirt, finding the middle of the 10th green and then sinking the putt for birdie for some breathing space.

“I hit some great shots that were really important for me to change the momentum,” Mostert said. “I had just made bogey on two and I was not in a great spot next to the third green, I was just hoping for an up-and-down at best. And then on 10, that was like a one-out-of-10 shot to pull off.             

“A whole bunch of things came together, but it’s definitely my mental game that made the most difference, my main focus was on staying neutral upstairs. Since finishing second in the Blue Label Challenge at Sun City last year, I’ve been working on that with Theo Bezuidenhout.

“I now have a different mindset because before I was up and down with birdies and bogeys. Now it’s about making good decisions and good swings. That builds confidence and belief.

“I probably hit the ball 10 times better when I finished second, but now I know where to miss,” Mostert said.

Further birdies at the 12th and 17th holes meant he was partitioned by three shots from Viljoen, five clear of the dangerous Louis Albertse (70) and half-a-dozen strokes ahead of Kyle Barker (67) and Ryan van Velzen (71) by the end of the R1 million tournament.

Mitchell fell away with a horrible double-bogey at the 14th followed by bogeys on the next two holes as well, finishing on nine-under-par.

In the separate pro-am competition, Viljoen’s joint-best round of the day of 67 allowed himself and Japie Holtzhausen to claim the title on 19-under-par, two ahead of Madalitso Muthiya and Nash Soni, and Hennie O’Kennedy and Moe Mitha, on 17-under.

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    John 15:16 – “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

    Our Christian experience begins when the Holy Spirit starts working in our imperfect lives. An inexplicable restlessness and a feeling that nothing can give you the satisfaction you yearn for, could be the Spirit working in you.

    Even when God calls you and chooses you to serve him, there may be inner conflict and confusion because you are not always willing to do what God is asking of you.

    But this inner struggle is part of spiritual life … Commit yourself to God and open yourself to the inflowing of the Holy Spirit.

    It is by great grace that you were chosen by God to serve him and to live to the honour and glory of his name. Surrender unconditionally to the Lord and you will discover that your life gains new meaning and purpose.

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