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Ken Borland

Dawson has good reason to feel delighted after day of very bad weather at Fancourt 0

Posted on March 11, 2024 by Ken

GEORGE, Western Cape – After a day of very bad weather at Fancourt, with strong gales and torrential downpours, Ana Dawson was the only golfer to finish under-par after the first round of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am and she had good reason to feel delighted.

Dawson, who hails from the Isle of Man, played the Outeniqua course in one-under-par 71 and so ended the opening day one stroke ahead of another three international golfers who finished on level-par: Germany’s Carolin Kauffmann, Scotland’s Kylie Henry and Englishwoman Lauren Taylor.

If the vile weather did not dampen Dawson’s mood then even a three-putt for bogey at the par-four last hole was not going to do it either.

“It was really hard weather and with all the delays, keeping your round going was probably the trickiest bit. It’s always a shame to three-putt the last, it leaves a bit of a sour taste, but I’m still very happy,” the 22-year-old Dawson said.

“If someone had offered me one-under today at the start of the round I would definitely have taken it. I had a nice draw because Outeniqua is a bit shorter and a bit more forgiving, but you still have to play well. I honestly hit just one bad shot today, but I struggled on the greens.”

Dawson enjoyed a fast start with a birdie on the par-four first hole, but she had to stay very patient thereafter as three pars were followed by a bogey on the par-four fifth. She birdied the sixth and eighth holes, but then dropped a shot at the ninth to turn in one-under.

The back nine was more grind with birdies on the 10th and 14th holes, but another bogey on the par-three 12th.

Dawson said the tough conditions actually suited her because it allowed her to take her time.

“It was quite slow out there, but in a way that was nice because it meant I didn’t have to try and rush, which has happened to me in the past. I felt I didn’t need to hurry at all today and that helped me. I really took my time and made sure everything was ready and right before I played,” Dawson said.

Henry and Taylor both took on the Montague course that is rated as being more difficult.

Henry was excellent on the front nine, going out in two-under, but the back nine bit back as she bogeyed three of the first four holes. A birdie on the par-five 18th was a great way to end though, restoring her to level-par.

Taylor recovered brilliantly from a disastrous front nine. After three pars, a double-bogey seven at the fourth would have knocked the wind out of her sails. She also dropped shots on the sixth and ninth holes, partially offset by a birdie on the par-three eighth, but the 29-year-old was three-over at the turn.

But Taylor stormed to three birdies in the first five holes of the back nine, not dropping any more shots on her way back to the clubhouse.

Kiera Floyd and Lejan Lewthwaite are the leading South Africans, tied in fifth place on one-over-par with Alexandra Swayne of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Williams cashes in on Leopard Creek par-5s & ever-growing confidence 0

Posted on December 07, 2023 by Ken

Robin Williams tees off on the par-four ninth hole in the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

Robin Williams was able to cash in on the par-fives and his own ever-growing confidence as he soared to the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the co-sanctioned Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek on Thursday.

Williams birdied three of the four par-fives on the scenic course on the border of the Kruger National Park, on his way to shooting a phenomenal seven-under-par 65, enough to give the England-based golfer a one-stroke lead.

Starting his round on the back nine also helped Williams because three of the par-fives are on that stretch, and he went to the turn on a very promising four-under. Back-to-back birdies on the par-five 15th and par-three 16th built on earlier gains on the par-four 11th and the famous par-five 13th hole overlooking the Crocodile River.

Williams birdied the first and par-five second holes as well, before his one and only dropped shot, on the par-four third hole with its strategically-placed bunkers and sloping green. But the 22-year-old finished in style with birdies on the sixth and eighth holes, continuing the impressive form he has shown in his first full season on the Sunshine Tour, after his maiden victory in October’s Fortress Invitational at Glendower.

“It was pretty fun out there today and I played well,” Williams smiled on an overcast and cool day in Malelane. “I didn’t really hit the ball in the rough although I was in a few furry spots. The greens were a lot firmer and quicker than I think everyone expected after all the rain, but I took advantage of the par-fives.

“Since that first win, I’ve gained masses of confidence over my last half-dozen tournaments on the Sunshine Tour. The courses are tougher and more penalising in these co-sanctioned events, but it’s been about adapting and learning. I probably put more pressure on myself than anything external, so I still need to handle that and my emotions, it’s not just your game you have to think about out there.

“But today is another massive confidence boost, I can now say I shot 65 around Leopard Creek, no-one can take that away from me and I can sleep happy tonight,” Williams said.

Williams grew up in Peterborough and came through the English amateur system, but he was born in South Africa and plays under that flag.

There were other outstanding South African performers in the top-10 of the leaderboard on Thursday, showing that we have some exceptional talent coming through.

Jayden Schaper, who acquitted himself so well in the final group of the South African Open last weekend at Blair Atholl, bounced back from that disappointment with a superb 66 to share second place with Spain’s Manuel Elvira.

Casey Jarvis was also quickly back on the horse after fading at Blair Atholl as he fired a 67, a score matched by two of the most exciting amateurs in the system, Christiaan Maas and Christo Lamprecht. They share fourth place on five-under with a more experienced South African in Jaco Prinsloo, New Zealander Samuel Jones and Scott Jamieson, the Scotsman who loves Leopard Creek and shared the lead going into last year’s final round, before finishing in a tie for 12th, having fired a course-record 63 on the second day.

“I know this course very well and where to leave it,” Schaper said after collecting seven birdies and making just one bogey. “So I kept it on the right side of the fairways and greens, I just kept it simple and tried to have the best angles coming in.

“I’m just sticking to my game-plan, my game has been good and I just want to keep it the same. It’s a clever course, you can’t go directly at the flags, you have to be careful of the run-offs and look at your angles,” the 22-year-old Schaper said.

General consensus was Blair Atholl was a long, hard walk … but Lagergren had a fun day 0

Posted on November 30, 2023 by Ken

Joakim Lagergren while he was having fun in the first round of the SA Open at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate.
(Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour)

The general consensus after the first round of the South African Open at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate on Thursday was that it was a very long walk indeed, but for leader Joakim Lagergren, it was a fun day, not spoiled at all by the 7.5km length of the course.

Golf being a good walk spoiled is, of course, one of the most famous quotes about the game, erroneously attributed to Mark Twain, one of the most misquoted people of all time. The phrase was first published in 1903, an aphorism that was seemingly used by many but belonged to nobody in particular.

But there was no spoiling Lagergren’s opening round in the second-oldest national open of them all, first played, co-incidentally, back in 1903. The Swede was rampant on Thursday, collecting seven birdies and not dropping a single shot on his way to a commanding 65 that gave him a one-stroke lead.

While others left the Gary Player designed course looking hot and bothered, the 32-year-old fronted the media smiling and looking fresh and buoyant, capable of perhaps doing a quick run around the front nine again.

“Golf was fun today,” Lagergren beamed, “I really enjoyed it. I told my caddy on the sixth that it was one of the longest par-threes I have ever seen at 240 yards and it was very rare to come in with a wedge on any of the par-fours. And there are huge greens, but luckily I putted well. I have been finding something with my putter after struggling for the last few weeks,” Lagergren said.

Andy Sullivan, the 2015 SA Open champion at Glendower, came in just before Lagergren, having also posted an excellent score, a five-under-par 67 that left him two shots behind.

He described it as a “long fucking walk” off camera but his sparkling wit was present as always.

“I’m not one of the longest hitters so the course didn’t particularly suit me, my strategy was just ‘hit the ball as hard as you can!’

“I know he is one of the fittest people alive, but I would love to see Mr Player walk around here, he might rethink his design a bit, it is definitely one of the most physically demanding courses I’ve played.

“There’s no warming down, it’s straight to Nandos and then prepare for tomorrow by resting,” Sullivan said.

The jovial Englishman employed the services of his accurate long-irons to share third place with two South Africans, Jovan Rebula and Louis de Jager, and said he is hoping a return to the Highveld, where he has a superb record, having also won the Joburg Open in 2015, will kickstart a much better season for him after two rough years.

“I got off to a really good start with three birdies in the first four holes and I holed a lot inside 12 feet today. It was actually more about control today, last week my mid to long irons were very good and they helped me out today again.

“I’ve struggled the last two seasons but I’ve managed to keep my card. I’ve tried something new by going back to Jamie Gough as coach and it feels like my game is there or thereabouts.

“I normally don’t play in December that much, but I felt it was important to get off to a good start this season, I have history here in Johannesburg and it’s a great place to start,” a more serious Sullivan said.

Highly-talented young South African Casey Jarvis is sandwiched between Lagergren and Sullivan et al after a wonderful round of 66 in the morning that did not lack for quality at all.

“I don’t hit the ball that long so I’ve got to drive the ball good. I also hit my long-irons pretty well. This course is a big mental challenge, especially the really long par-fours. You just have to try and stay patient,” Jarvis said.

A compatriot who showed quite extraordinary forbearance was Christiaan Bezuidenhout. He played superbly from tee-to-green, but missed a handful of putts from inside 10 feet that could have transformed his impressive 68 into a score of eight-under-par or so. By the back nine, where his only birdie came on the 12th, you could sense that inside he was starting to beg for a putt to just go in!

If that Bezuidenhout putter warms up on the second day, then the smart money might well be on the 2020 SA Open champion.

Blair Atholl the road less travelled, but Lawrence has been there before & equals his course record 0

Posted on March 14, 2023 by Ken

Playing the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate course is the road less travelled for most of the South African Open field, but Thriston Lawrence has been there before and he equalled his course record on the massive Gary Player designed layout to top the leaderboard after the first round on Thursday.

The course has only hosted one professional event before – the Blair Atholl Championship in October 2021 – and Lawrence claimed the course record with a remarkable 64 in the final round that catapulted him into sixth place.

On Thursday he repeated that performance with another eight-under-par 64 to end the first day of the SA Open with a one-stroke lead. Lawrence, who won the rookie of the year award for the 2022 DP World Tour, birdied the second hole but then bogeyed the par-three third. From then on it was a cruise for the highly-promising 25-year-old as he gathered eight more birdies, five of them on the back nine.

The sheer length of the Blair Atholl course – at 7461 metres it is the longest in DP World Tour history – may be daunting for many in the field, but Lawrence enjoys the challenge.

“That was good fun,” Lawrence smiled after signing for his 64, “this course is quite familiar to me after I played the Sunshine Tour event here last year and I’m very happy to tie my course record from the final round then.

“I just tried to keep doing what I do, stick to the game-plan and be aggressive off the tee, and I hit good drives, my approach play was really great and I dropped a few putts today.

“It’s really long, but I like hitting full shots into the green, mid-to-long irons are my game. My long game is my strength and this course definitely suits me.

“It’s just good on the eye for me, the course just seems open for me and obviously I brought a bit of confidence today from that last round last year,” Lawrence said.

Englishman Ross Fisher, another of the longer hitters on tour, also went to town on the back nine, collecting five birdies as well, adding to the three birdies and a bogey, also on the third, he had on the front nine, to finish one behind Lawrence on seven-under. Fisher’s last DP World Tour win came at the 2014 Tshwane Open, which was played at Copperleaf, the previous longest-ever course in tour history, so that is a good omen for the 42-year-old.

Jens Fahrbring, the 38-year-old Swede, joined Fisher on seven-under with a superb bogey-free 65 as dusk settled over Lanseria.

Germany’s Matti Schmid held the clubhouse lead for much of the day with three eagles leading him to a six-under 66, where Scott Jamieson joined him late in the day, the Scot also going bogey-free. JJ Senekal also posted 66.

Luke Brown, who won the Blair Atholl Championship last year, parked himself on five-under with a 67 that also did not feature a single dropped shot. Spain’s Santiago Tarrio and Italian Edoardo Molinari also posted 67s, as did Northern Ireland’s Tom McKibbin, who made a hole-in-one on the 213-metre par-three 11th in just his second DP World Tour start.

South Africa’s Hennie du Plessis also registered an ace, on the par-three third hole.

Wilco Nienaber, perhaps the longest hitter of them all, also finished on five-under, offsetting a double-bogey five at the 17th with an eagle on the par-five closing hole.

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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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