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Ken Borland



Henry the frontrunner in final round at Royal Cape 0

Posted on June 06, 2024 by Ken

Cape Town – Scotland’s Kylie Henry will be the frontrunner in the final round of the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club, after she posted a three-under-par 71 on Thursday to stretch her lead to three shots ahead of the last day on Friday.

The 37-year-old is on eight-under-par overall after two rounds on the par-74, 5738 metre Royal Cape layout. Henry came from two strokes back to win the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt a month ago, but her previous Ladies European Tour victory came at the 2014 German Open when she led after the second and third rounds, her three straight 64s giving her record tallies for 36 and 54 holes on that tour.

A pair of South Africans are once again Investec Order of Merit leader Henry’s closest challengers, but now it is Casandra Alexander and Gabrielle Venter, who both shot 69s on Thursday to move to five-under-par.

Shawnelle de Lange (71) and Lora Assad (72) were second and third after the first round, but De Lange shot 77 in the second round to slip back to level-par, and Assad made 78 to slide to two-over.

SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner Tvesa Malik is on four-under-par in a tie for fourth with France’s Emie Peronnin and Englishwoman Florentyna Parker. They all shot three-under 71s on Thursday.

De Lange initially kept in contact with Henry, but then a seven on the par-five 16th and a bogey on the par-four 17th saw her fall away.

Henry battled a bit to find her best game on the front nine, going out in level-par as she dropped shots on the first, seventh and eighth holes. But she also made back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes, and then again on nine and 10. The two-time Ladies European Tour winner’s beautiful ball-striking then enabled her to birdie the par-five 14th and 16th holes, as well as the par-three 16th for her to pull a little clear of the chasing pack.

Oosthuizen shows the pedigree to jack up his game when required 0

Posted on December 11, 2023 by Ken

Louis Oosthuizen finally gets his hands on the trophy at Leopard Creek.
Photo: Ken Borland

When Charl Schwartzel drew level again on the 12th hole, Louis Oosthuizen knew his great friend and rival was not going to go away in the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship, and he realised he would have to jack up his game if he hoped to win the famous Leopard Creek trophy for the first time.

Showing his big game temperament, Oosthuizen played beautifully through the middle of the back nine, reeling off three straight birdies from the 13th hole. It meant he went into the daunting last three holes with a three-stroke lead, and he needed it in the sodden conditions.

Finding a fairway bunker on the par-four 17th led to a bogey, and then his drive on the par-five 18th found the water down the right, creating an exciting finish as four-time champion Schwartzel was just off the green in two. Oosthuizen laid up his third well, and then nervelessly rolled in a tricky 18-foot putt for par to seal a two-stroke victory, his closing 69 taking him to 18-under-par.

“I knew I had to play well because Charl plays very well around this place and Christiaan Bezuidenhout started well too. Fortunately I made a few putts in the middle that let me get ahead because this is such a good finishing course, you need to hold on and it’s tough to be aggressive,” Oosthuizen said after his first win since his memorable SA Open triumph in 2018.

“I was a bit in-between what to do off the 18th tee and I had to make par the hard way, because Charl hit a good drive and I knew he would go for the green in two. It wasn’t much fun after that tee-shot, but it feels good now!”

After Sunday’s play was limited to just seven holes for the leading group by thundershowers, Schwartzel started shakily on Monday with bogeys on the par-four eighth and 10th holes. But he would trade those in for back-to-back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes to draw level again. But six successive pars then followed as Schwartzel was just not quite sharp enough to put more pressure on Oosthuizen, closing with a 71 for 16-under-par.

Moving beyond the ins and outs of their respective final rounds, perhaps Oosthuizen was due to win at Leopard Creek, given his pedigree and how badly he wanted the title after twice finishing second.

“Since first playing in this event in 2004, this has been one of the tournaments I’ve always wanted to win, but it took me a while. Like the SA Open, which was my last win, I had to wait a while and now I’m very happy. It’s really special to win here, maybe I should play more in South Africa.

“I was very focused because I really wanted to win and I felt my game was good enough to do it and I’ve been putting well enough. But it was just a fight and I had to make it count with the putter in the end,” Oosthuizen said.

A beautifully curled-in 35ft birdie putt on the 14th hole was the 41-year-old’s highlight on the greens on the final day.

Bezuidenhout shot a four-under 68 to ensure he was always a lurking presence in the final round, eventually finishing third on 14-under-par.

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Oosthuizen & Schwartzel at their best as they set up another Leopard Creek showdown 0

Posted on December 09, 2023 by Ken

Louis Oosthuizen during his wonderful 63 in the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

With Louis Oosthuizen shooting his best ever round at Leopard Creek and Charl Schwartzel feeling physically back to something approaching his best, the stage is set for a classic showdown between the two great friends and Major champions as they go into the final round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship tied for the lead.

Sunday’s closing round will take the tournament back a decade and more as Schwartzel and Oosthuizen re-enact a rivalry that was a dominant feature of the tournament back then. Schwartzel had the better of the exchanges, winning the title a record four times, in 2012, 2013 and 2015, in addition to his 2004 triumph at Houghton Golf Club.

Oosthuizen has never won the Alfred Dunhill Championship, finishing runner-up in 2005 and 2014. The famous prowling leopard trophy is one he dearly wants to raise, and he put himself into prime position with a tremendous, nine-under-par, course record equalling 63 on Saturday to go to 15-under-par after three rounds.

“That was good,” Oosthuizen grinned after his faultless round with seven birdies and an eagle on the par-four, 284m sixth when he drove the green. “I played really solid and did not make a lot of mistakes, and then rolled it nicely on the greens.

“But it was hot! I was close to getting a beer from someone on the side of the course! I just tried to walk in the shade as much as I could, because it was brutal out there. And this is such a tough course, there are certain holes you need to take on and you have to play good shots. This course can really bite you and I’ve been on the bad side of it.

“But this is one tournament I really want on my CV, I’ve come close to winning before and I’ve messed it up before too. So tomorrow I’m just going to stay calm and do the same thing as today,” Oosthuizen said.

Charl Schwartzel on his way to firing a 65 in the third round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

Schwartzel has endured an injury-plagued year and is just delighted that the physios have managed to patch him back together so well that he feels like his old self again. That old self has been the dominant figure at Leopard Creek through the years, and the 39-year-old turned back the clock on Saturday as he produced a stellar back nine featuring four birdies and an eagle on the par-five 15th, posting a 65 that saw him reach 15-under shortly after Oosthuizen.

“I loved it, that was really nice. It’s so much fun to be healthy again after having constant niggles for the whole year. You don’t realise how much an injury hampers you because you are always working around it. It was just free-flowing again and I can hit all my shots again. The clubface is stable and I’m striking the ball so well. It makes me really happy.

“This heat is comfortable for me, it’s how I know Leopard Creek. The first two days it felt like a new course I was learning how to play, with the ball not going so far in the cool weather, making it very difficult to go for the par-fives in two.

“Louis had a great round and we’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve come a long way together and we will both just try our best in the final round and see what the outcome is. The one who makes the least mistakes will win,” Schwartzel said.

Heavy prices were paid lower down the leaderboard for errant tee-shots or impure iron shots, and for poor course-management, which combined to give Oosthuizen and Schwartzel a five-shot lead.

Two quality golfers, well-versed in winning in South Africa, are tied in third place on 10-under-par: Christiaan Bezuidenhout dropped a couple of shots on the front nine, but reeled off four birdies in a row after the turn to post a 68; Andy Sullivan had a double-bogey on the par-three seventh and dropped another shot on 17, but finished superbly with an eagle at the last to sign for a 69.

Overnight leader Casey Jarvis notched four birdies but made too many mistakes, four bogeys and a double-drop on the par-five 15th took him down the leaderboard with a 74 to finish on eight-under-par.

Marco Penge got himself to 12-under-par after 13 holes, but three bogeys in his next four holes saw him slip back to nine-under and in a tie for fifth with Ashun Wu (69).

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.

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