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Ken Borland



Oosthuizen knows there is not much major golf left in him & would normally be sentimental favourite at St Andrews 0

Posted on August 22, 2022 by Ken

South Africa’s highest-ranked golfer Louis Oosthuizen knows there is not much major championship golf left in him and, as the Open Championship celebrates its 150th staging on the Old Course at St Andrews from Thursday, he would normally be a sentimental favourite.

Oosthuizen won the Open at St Andrews in 2010 and was the runner-up in a playoff loss there in 2015. That is one of his six second-placed finishes in majors, so he would be a popular winner, were it not for his controversial decision to join the rebel LIV Golf league.

The 39-year-old knows that this could be his last major championship. He has resigned from both the PGA Tour and Europe’s DP World Tour, looking to cut back on the amount of golf he plays. So LIV Golf with its limited schedule and guaranteed big prizemoney suits him perfectly, while he has retained his Sunshine Tour membership and could well play more often in South Africa than he has in recent years.

There are two other South African LIV golfers in the Open Championship field – Justin Harding and Shaun Norris – neither of whom would seem to have much chance of winning.

Harding seemed to have bounced back into form last weekend when he began the Scottish Open with a 65 – and then told the media he did not expect as much of a fuss to be made about LIV Golf as there was. Detractors will say it was karma as he then shot 74-77-72 to tumble down the leaderboard.

For others less jaded by earning millions on tour, just the opportunity to play a major championship on arguably the most-loved golf course on the planet is going to be a career-highlight.

Thriston Lawrence makes his major championship debut along with 17-year-old sensation Aldrich Potgieter, who won the British Amateur last month to qualify and will be the youngest player in the St Andrews field.

At the other end of the spectrum, the 52-year-old Ernie Els, a two-time Open champion, will fittingly be part of the 150th celebrations. He is loving life in America on the Champions [Senior] tour, but is not so enamoured with LIV Golf, calling it “silly-season golf”.

Amongst the other South Africans in the field, there is not much form to speak about for Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester, Dylan Frittelli, Garrick Higgo, Zander Lombard and Erik van Rooyen.

After the halcyon years between 1994 and 2012, when South Africans won nine major titles, there has been a drought lasting 44 championships with nothing.

Don’t bet on that changing this weekend, except if you are a believer in sporting fairytales.

Oosthuizen joins the club of SA golfers beaten into 2nd by Mickelson 0

Posted on June 01, 2021 by Ken

Louis Oosthuizen joined the club when it came to South African golfers beaten into second place by Phil Mickelson at a Major championship when the American became the oldest ever golfer to win one of the sport’s four main tournaments with his two-stroke victory in the PGA Championship overnight at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course.

If it wasn’t bad enough having Tiger Woods hogging most of the Majors in the 2000s, winning 12 of them including beating Ernie Els into second place in both the U.S. Open and the Open Championship in 2000, and winning the 2002 Masters by three strokes over Retief Goosen, Mickelson then beat Els by one stroke in the 2004 Masters and Tim Clark by two strokes at Augusta in 2006.

Oosthuizen was just marginally off his game in the final round of the PGA Championship, while his putter remained his most unresponsive club as he posted a one-over-par 73 in the final round to finish tied-second with American multiple Major winner Brooks Koepka. They each earned $1.05 million dollars.

While Mickelson is celebrating his own place in the annals of history as the oldest ever Major winner, Oosthuizen will be mulling over his fifth runners-up finish in the big four tournaments, having claimed the title in the 2010 Open Championship. But the 38-year-old can take some heart from the fact that Mickelson, who turns 51 on June 16, has finished second 11 times in Majors. But the left-hander has also won six Majors – the PGA twice, the Masters three times and the Open Championship once.

“I feel like I’m playing my heart out to get a second major, and I do know I have the game to do it. This was close. My game wasn’t great on the weekend, but it was better today than yesterday. So I just need to work harder on it to get myself in contention again,” Oosthuizen said after his round.

What shaped up as being a famous day in South African golf history, with three golfers in the top six going into the final round, ended as a disappointment, with only Oosthuizen challenging before once again finishing second-best.

Christiaan Bezuidenhout shot a 77 to slip into a tie for 30th, while Branden Grace was in a tie for 38th a shot back after a 78.

Danie van Tonder, in his debut Major appearance, shot 73 in the final round to finish tied-44th, one shot ahead of Rory McIlroy.

Dean Burmester finished tied-59th and Garrick Higgo, also on Major debut, shot an excellent 69 in the final round to climb to a tie for 64th.

Schwartzel & Coetzee lead after daunting day at Millvale 0

Posted on February 05, 2016 by Ken

 

Millvale Private Retreat is a little-known championship course hidden away in the fertile bushveld between the Magaliesburg and Pilanesberg ranges and there is very limited access for golfers, which is maybe not such a bad thing considering how darn difficult it was to play on the opening day of the Chase to the Investec Cup final on Thursday.

With slick greens, numerous bunkers and a gusting, awkward wind, Millvale put the top 30 golfers on the Sunshine Tour to the test and it was no surprise the two who came out tops were class performers in Charl Schwartzel and George Coetzee.

They both shot four-under-par 68s and were three shots ahead of Justin Harding and Shaun Norris, the only other golfers to break par.

Schwartzel is trying to groove his swing ahead of the Masters, which starts at Augusta on April 9, and he seems to be making rapid progress in that regard, as well as cracking the code for how to succeed at Millvale.

“For a while now I’ve been working out my swing and it’s getting better and better. It’s a matter of trusting it out on the course, because it doesn’t matter on the range. So today was a good round in hard conditions, it was challenging and anything under par was good,” Schwartzel said.

In terms of Masters preparation, the greens were also to Schwartzel’s liking, although he said Augusta would ask even more of his putter.

“The greens definitely had speed and they’re up with the best I’ve seen here. You don’t often get greens at this speed in South Africa and I was very pleased to see that. We’re not used to having that in South Africa and when I played Lost City on Tuesday, the greens there were very slow, so I hope they speed them up for our two rounds there on Saturday and Sunday.

“But today was more than good enough practice for Augusta, although the greens there have even more slope and the ball just doesn’t stop,” Schwartzel said.

While Schwartzel was fairly consistent with six birdies and just two dropped shots, Coetzee had a round which he described as “all over the show” – two bogeys, an eagle, six birdies and a double-bogey were all crammed into his wild round in the Limpopo River watershed.

“I don’t know how I shot four-under because my game was all over the show. This is not the easiest course to play in the wind and the speed of the greens was very fast and the placement of the pins meant you had to really plot your way around the course, it was hard work,” Coetzee said.

A run of eagle and four successive birdies from the par-five seventh hole was key to Coetzee’s success and, being sponsored by Investec, the owners of Millvale, he admitted some local knowledge really helped.

“The eagle on seven was a bit of local knowledge because I know there is a small gap on the left and you’re able to take it on with driver. For my second I hit a seven-iron to three feet,” Coetzee said.

http://citizen.co.za/347133/schwartzel-coetzee-came-out-tops/

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