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Ken Borland



Coetzee has the experience, composure & skill to get the job done despite golf being a capricious mistress 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – Golf is a capricious mistress and George Coetzee has been in the game for long enough to know the swing he has one day might not be around the next, but the two-time Sunshine Tour order of merit champion had the experience, composure and skill to get the job done on Sunday as he clinched his second PGA Championship title at the St Francis Links.

Coetzee had just a one-stroke lead going into the final round, but a polished four-under-par 68 on Sunday, which included two eagles and almost a third, carried him to 15-under-par and a three-stroke victory in the prestigious R1.2 million tournament.

“I was pretty much under pressure all day, I didn’t really feel comfortable and my swing wasn’t 100%,” Coetzee said after claiming his 14th Sunshine Tour title.

“But golf is one of those games, it’s not like cycling where the more you cycle the better you get. You can have one swing on one day and then the next day another swing.

“So I was putting pressure on myself, but I stuck to the game-plan, made good choices and hit good shots, and luckily it was enough in the end,” Coetzee said.

Some of those shots were better than good as an eagle on the par-five third hole brought some early pleasure, and he holed out with a sand-wedge for an eagle-two on the par-four 10th hole. In between those highlights, he could also have eagled the 350-yard par-four fifth hole after driving the green, but his putt was narrowly wide.

“We were put on the clock on the fifth and I didn’t have time to read my putt properly,” Coetzee laughed.

Unusually, Coetzee made bogey on the following hole on both occasions he registered an eagle.

“I was really happy with my two eagles after I saw a lot of chances in the third round. But then it was a bit hard to calm down and get back into my rhythm, get my head back into a good space,” Coetzee admitted.

But back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes put him firmly in control of the tournament and he parred his way in from the 14th for a comfortable victory in the end.

Rookie Casey Jarvis produced his best Sunshine Tour result as he finished second after a final-round 69, and the experienced duo of Hennie Otto and Jake Redman were tied in third place, one stroke behind on 11-under-par, both shooting two-under-par 70s on Sunday.

Coetzee will now head to Sun City and this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, which is like the AGM of South African professional golf, assured that he has the game in place to contend for that massive title.

“The confidence I take from beating the field here is a big boost and I’m generally pretty happy with the swing that has shown up for the last couple of weeks,” Coetzee said.

Coetzee says there’s no magic recipe for winning golf, but he enjoyed more than a few ounces of inspiration 0

Posted on January 31, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee says there is no magic recipe for winning golf, but the 13-time champion on the Sunshine Tour enjoyed more than a few ounces of inspiration on Saturday as a bogey-free 67 carried him back to the top of the leaderboard after the penultimate round of the PGA Championship at the St Francis Links.

Two birdies on the front nine and three coming in, two of them back-to-back on the 12th and 13th holes, lifted Coetzee to 11-under-par for the tournament and he is one stroke clear of Rhys West, who shot a 68.

Second-round leader Casey Jarvis posted a 71 on Saturday and is on nine-under-par, together with Stefan Wears-Taylor (67), Jake Redman (68) and Hennie Otto (69).

“It wasn’t really my plan to not get any bogeys, I just wanted to play good golf,” Coetzee said. “This course has some teeth and you have to pick those parts where you can be aggressive and where you can’t be aggressive.

“I think I balanced that out quite well, I made pars on the tough holes and birdies on some of the easier holes. Being experienced is more about what you do than what you know.

“But it does help that I am more conservative on a course that I don’t know that well, I kind of stick to how the course wants me to play.

“I think only Tiger Woods really knew how to win, the rest of us are all learning as we go along. I’ve won a few tournaments, but there’s no pattern to it, no magic recipe,” Coetzee said.

Overnight leader Jarvis had two eagles on the front nine, on the par-five third and then holing out with his second on the par-four fifth hole, but after a double-bogey six on the par-four 15th he surrendered the lead to Coetzee.

There are also four golfers on seven-under-par who will be chasing after glory in the final round on Sunday – last week’s winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final Combrinck Smit (66), Luke Jerling (67), Peter Karmis (67) and Martin Vorster (71).

But after all the titles he has won, including the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at De Zalze in August, the 36-year-old Coetzee has clear aims for the final round.

“I will just be trying to make good decisions, try to play decent golf and be excited about playing under pressure,” Coetzee said.

Coetzee seemingly cruises to a 67, but says it was a struggle 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee shot a five-under-par 67 with just two bogeys to seemingly cruise into a share of the lead after the first round of the PGA Championship, but the multiple winner on both the Sunshine and DP World Tours said it had actually been a struggle on a typically testing day at the St Francis Links on Thursday.

Coetzee began his round with a bogey on the par-four 10th, but then went to the turn with four birdies. On the front nine, his only other drop came on the par-four fifth, with birdies on either side of it, and the 36-year-old completed his round with an excellent birdie on the par-four ninth.

Coetzee, who won the 2011 PGA Championship at Country Club Johannesburg after finishing runner-up the year before, is tied for the lead with Danie van Niekerk, the 34-year-old Lichtenburg golfer who produced a brilliant bogey-free round with three birdies on the front nine, after he also started on the 10th.

“It was definitely tricky out there and I’m happy with my score,” Coetzee said. “All-in-all, I’m happy just to be in the mix and to be in a good rhythm. I made a lot of putts on my last nine holes when it was really quite tricky, and that kept my scorecard together.

“But it was a hairy last bunch of holes into the wind,” Coetzee said.

The winner of a second consecutive Vodacom Origins of Golf Series De Zalze title when he last played in South Africa in August, Coetzee said that his two bogeys had come from a lack of familiarity with the seaside course.

“My two bogeys were basically down to a lack of knowledge of the course, taking the wrong club off the tee or playing to the wrong part of the green, like on my second on the 10th hole. Hopefully I learn quickly and make better decisions tomorrow,” Coetzee said.

The top-10 on the leaderboard at the end of the first round is filled with experienced or in-form golfers that will ensure Coetzee and Van Niekerk are kept on their toes.

Jake Roos and Hennie O’Kennedy are one shot behind on four-under with Casey Jarvis, JJ Senekal and Rhys West.

Hennie Otto, who was the runner-up in the PGA Championship in both 2002 and 2008, is with Stefan Wears-Taylor and Samuel Simpson on three-under.

The PGA Championship is South Africa’s second-oldest professional tournament and Otto would dearly love to add that title to his 2011 SA Open win at Serengeti Estate.

Coetzee triumphs as Pretoria CC’s two ‘pets’ go head-to-head 0

Posted on September 07, 2020 by Ken

Pretoria Country Club probably has two favourite current professional golfers in George Coetzee and Tristen Strydom and on Friday the two ‘pets’ went head-to-head in the final round of the Titleist Championship with Coetzee emerging as a four-shot winner in a contest he said was tighter than the final margin suggested.

Coetzee and Strydom began the day both on seven-under-par, but Coetzee added to his two Tshwane Open titles at the Waterkloof course by firing a superb six-under-par 66 on Friday, winning himself R95 100.

The 23-year-old Strydom, in just his second season on the Sunshine Tour, performed admirably to post a 70 and earn R69 000, more than his total previous earnings of R58 877. And the resident and member of the Pretoria Country Club estate would have been properly in contention were it not for consecutive double-bogeys on the par-three fifth and the par-four sixth holes, from which he did exceptionally well to still shoot two-under-par.

“Tristen is a really exciting player, he hits the ball so good and definitely has a bright future. Were it not for just a couple of holes he would have really had me sweating,” Coetzee admitted. “But it’s always special winning at Pretoria Country Club and being a Titleist player, they have both supported me my whole career. I’m really happy to have won in front of everyone who was expecting me to perform, I could hear their cheers from a long way off,” he added below the clubhouse balcony that was littered with people supporting Coetzee and Strydom.

“Usually expectation is the killer so it was nice to pull it off,” Coetzee continued. “I really enjoyed the pressure of playing while in the lead, being in a tournament situation and under stress, because I’ve worked a lot on my mental game in Lockdown and made a lot of good strides. I felt comfortable attacking the flags, tending to a certain side if I missed so I would still be safe.”

Coetzee actually made an awful start to the day with bogeys on the first two holes. A five at the first was in fact a big escape for the 34-year-old, who had to fashion a cunning piece of innovation to only drop one shot as his ball was against the boundary wall. Coetzee hit it into the wall and rebounded it back on to the green.

“The last time I was against that wall was when I was 13 years old, I learnt my lesson then but obviously forgot it today. In the end I was very happy to make bogey because it was a tough putt,” he said.

Another bogey on the par-four second may have suggested Coetzee was vulnerable but it was one of the great cons as he powered his way back from his poor start with six birdies between the fourth and 10th holes. He added two more birdies on the par-three 14th and the par-four 17th holes to complete his 11th Sunshine Tour victory.

“On the second I basically hit the ball flush over the green so I had really hit just one bad shot, so I was still pretty happy and was confident to still go for the flags,” Coetzee said.

On a glorious sunny day that was fantastic for those wanting to work on a spring tan, Darren Fichardt made the biggest move on the final day with a top-class seven-under 65 that lifted him into fourth place on six-under. Jaco Ahlers completed a solid week’s work with a 67 to finish third on seven-under, two behind second-placed Strydom.

The Rise Up Series now takes a three-week break before resuming with the penultimate event at ERPM Golf Club on September 23.

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    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

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