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Ken Borland

It could have been brilliant or terrible, but it ended in tears of joy for Burmester 0

Posted on December 03, 2023 by Ken

Dean Burmester with the famous SA Open trophy at Blair Atholl.

Dean Burmester’s final round in the South African Open at Blair Atholl on Sunday began with him deciding to play aggressively, accepting that he would either post a brilliant score that would bring joy or a terrible total that would see him bomb out of contention. His round ended with him fighting back the tears as he claimed the title with a marvellous four-under-par 68.

Burmester began the last day tied for fourth, two strokes off the lead which was shared by young fellow South Africans Jayden Schaper and Ryan van Velzen. He ended up winning by three strokes as neither Schaper nor Van Velzen could stay under-par in the final round, and none of the other contenders could match a 68 on another torrid day of fierce heat and fast greens on the longest course in DP World Tour history.

“I told my caddie Jason Reynolds at the start of the day that I wanted to free it up today, it was either going to be a 65 or an 85 today because we were going to go for everything,” an emotional Burmester said after his biggest victory and his fourth on the DP World Tour. The 34-year-old also won last week’s Joburg Open, pulling off a rare double.

“Fortunately I just flushed it from the start and I could see the greens were really starting to firm up. I said to Jason that two hours from now, they would be nearly impossible to play so we should just post a score, sit back and watch.

“On the 18th green I was just trying not to cry. I’m still trying. I am super-emotional, it’s been a long road to get here. I have both my national opens now and it feels surreal, it’s just super-special to do the SA double,” the Zimbabwe-born Burmester said after being presented with the most prestigious trophy in South African golf.

On a tightly-contested final day in which the toughness of the course made it extremely difficult for someone to really pull away, it was going to need nerves of steel and the mettle to seize the key moment when it presented itself for the winner to separate himself.

For Burmester, that moment happened on the 16th. He had been hanging on to a one-stroke lead for most of the round after he sank a 40ft birdie putt on the seventh hole, but on the second-toughest hole on the final day, he hit a great approach to 10 feet and curled in the birdie putt.

He then rammed home his advantage on the par-three 17th, a beautiful pin-high tee shot setting up a second consecutive birdie.

“Sixteen is when things swung for me. I had a perfect number from the fairway and, having missed a shortish chance on 14, it was fantastic to sink a 10-foot double-breaker on 16,” Burmester recalled.

“On 17 I hit a pitching wedge, again a lovely number, and I must credit my whole team for their great work in preparing me to perform under pressure because it is not my favourite club.”

Being the classy person he is, Burmester was also full of praise and sympathy for the pair of 22-year-old East Randers, Schaper and Van Velzen, who certainly did not hand victory on a plate to their more experienced compatriot.

Van Velzen finished in the tie for second on eight-under with Renato Paratore (70) and Jesper Svensson (71), his five birdies being undone by two double-bogeys and a bogey. He fought hard though, until the 14th when he found both a fairway and a greenside bunker and then three-putted to drop two shots.

Schaper finished on seven-under in a tie for fifth after a 74 that included just three birdies but five bogeys.

“Winning is hard for young golfers and I know how Jayden and Ryan feel because I was there too. I feel for those two young guys at the back, it takes time and it takes a lot before you learn how to win.

“It was cool that I was drawn with Louis de Jager, he and I have a lot of experience and we were able to pull each other along. He’s been a prolific winner on the Sunshine Tour and we were both able to relax,” Burmester said.

De Jager played well but his putter did not help him much as he posted a 73 to also finish in the tie for fifth with Alejandro del Rey (68), Fredric Lacroix (69), Matteo Manassero (72) and Schaper.

Excitement and confidence is what Hendrikse will bring to the Sharks team 0

Posted on December 29, 2022 by Ken

Excitement and confidence is what scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse will bring to the Sharks team when he returns to United Rugby Championship action on Saturday against Glasgow Warriors at Kings Park.

Hendrikse enjoyed a wonderful Rugby Championship campaign with the Springboks, mixing it creditably with the Aaron Smiths and Nic Whites of the world, and being heavily involved in some of the team’s best results.

“Last season’s quarterfinal was my last game for the Sharks, so I’m super-excited to get back on the park with them,” Hendrikse said on Wednesday.

“Basically for me it will just be about enjoying every moment. For those of us coming back from the Boks, we just want to fit in as smoothly as possible with the Sharks’ DNA, how they play, and contribute as much as we can.

“From the Rugby Championship, I learnt just to be accurate in everything I do and do my job. There’s a lot of pressure, but if you put in your work, do your detail, then you eliminate that.

“I just want to execute my role on Saturday and play how Jaden plays,” Hendrikse said.

A physical scrumhalf, Hendrikse knows he will have to have a pretty big motor on defence on Saturday, because Glasgow Warriors like to move the ball around quickly.

“The Warriors matched the Bulls physically last weekend, they disrupted their set-piece and lineout, attacked them at the breakdown,” Hendrikse said.

“We are focused on ourselves, and we have to pitch up and play our way, but we do analyse what they will bring to the game and I’ve watched three of their games.

“They have a good transition on attack, a high line and they wait for you to make a mistake and then counter-attack. On attack they play very deep, they want you to come up and then they play short options.

‘They have a good attack and it will be a good challenge. We need to tighten up on our soft moments and our discipline let us down last weekend against Leinster. Our kicking game needs to be more accurate too,” Hendrikse said.

What Rossouw has, you can’t buy in the shops 0

Posted on September 06, 2022 by Ken

You can’t buy experience, so the saying goes, and the sort of talent and skill Rilee Rossouw can bring to the Proteas team is also not available in the shops and South Africa captain David Miller said he is delighted to have the left-handed powerhouse back in the squad for the first T20 against England in Bristol on Wednesday night.

The 32-year-old Rossouw is poised to play for the Proteas for the first time since October 2016. The Grey College product, swift of foot and hand, then signed a Kolpak contract with Hampshire and has made his dashing mark in T20 tournaments around the world. He has been especially successful since joining Somerset for this year’s T20 Blast, lashing 623 runs at an average of 47 and a strike-rate of 192.

“It’s great to have Rilee back, we began our professional careers around the same time back in the day,” Miller said on Tuesday. “The team is right behind him, he has immense experience from playing in leagues around the world.

“He’s also spent a few years in England and it’s great to have that local knowledge for this series. He has a good head on his shoulders and he’s a matchwinner.

“He’s a lot stronger since I last played with him. He’s a seriously good player. A very relaxed guy who takes everything in his stride, but really competitive and fiery on the field. I’m really looking forward to playing alongside him again,” Miller said.

With Temba Bavuma unable to take the reins due to his elbow injury, Miller will captain South Africa for the second series, having led for two matches against Pakistan in 2019. The Proteas won that home rubber 2-1, with Miller commanding a largely second-string squad. Only Hendricks, Van der Dussen, Klaasen, Phehlukwayo and Shamsi are still in the picture.

In those games Miller learnt the importance of staying in contact with his bowlers when T20 inevitably gets hectic.

“It can get a little crazy,” Miller admitted. “It’s about having clear plans. You have to learn pretty quickly our there, it’s about knowing what my bowlers are like, what I want and what they want to do.

“It’s about being well-prepared and you have to trust the bowlers to execute their skills, you can’t control everything as a captain. I do have that trust, so it’s just about executing at the right time.

“In the last year-and-a-half, we’ve got our squad together and we’re pretty comfortable. England have a serious team, but us too. It’s about who does the right things at the right time.

“We’ve played some really good cricket lately and we feel confident. We’re definitely taking this series very seriously so we can continue our momentum heading for the World Cup,” Miller said.

The match starts at 7.30pm SA time.

Proteas go into 2nd ODI facing challenges of being on the verge of claiming a trophy 0

Posted on August 29, 2022 by Ken

Having won the first match at Chester-le-Street, South Africa are one win away from clinching their first 50-over series triumph in England since 1998 as they go into the second ODI at Old Trafford on Friday, but being on the verge of claiming a trophy can bring challenges of its own.

In the five-match T20 series in India last month, the Proteas pulled off two impressive wins chasing in Delhi and Cuttack, but then lost the next two matches as conditions became more typically subcontinental. The decider in Bengaluru was washed out.

In their previous ODI series, they lost the deciding match against Bangladesh at Centurion for a shock series defeat.

But before that, their previous bilateral series in both formats saw them whitewash India 3-0 in home ODIs in January and Sri Lanka 3-0 in T20s in Colombo last September.

“In India we said the third game was our final,” fast bowler Anrich Nortje said on Thursday, “but we didn’t get it done. So the next game too was a final and the same thing happened, we didn’t pull it through.

“We’ve definitely taken some learnings from that. We can’t read too much into the past and we need to assess conditions as quickly as possible.

“We must do what we do well and not worry about England’s strategy, even though they have very good batsmen,” Nortje said.

South Africa used the big field at the Riverside Stadium, and a baking pitch that became harder to bat on, to their advantage in the first ODI, and Old Trafford, one of England’s grand old venues, also has a large outfield.

That will mean the Proteas spinners – Keshav Maharaj, Tabraiz Shamsi and Aiden Markram – will again be key players and England will want to shake off the impression that they played them a bit like Geoff Boycott’s grandmother with her proverbial stick of rhubarb.

All-rounder Andile Phehlukwayo has been ruled out of the series due to his concussion and is likely to be replaced by Dwaine Pretorius, but fast men Nortje and Lungi Ngidi gave the spinners great backing earlier this week.

Of the last 10 ODIs at Old Trafford, eight have been won by the team batting first.

“Hopefully we win the toss if that’s the case,” Nortje laughed. “Our spinners have really been crucial for us, they’ve done a great job in the middle overs and Kesh at the start too.

“It’s nothing fancy in terms of our attack, we all just contribute our little bits. We’ve got to adapt, and if there’s a bit in the pitch then you can be boring as a bowler, just try hit the top of off-stump.

“But if it’s flat and the batsmen are attacking, then you’re trying bouncers, yorkers, slower balls. We hear conditions will be better than the last venue, with more bounce and a bit more in it for batting and bowling,” Nortje said.

The game starts at 2pm SA time.

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