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Ken Borland



Beaming Manassero lights up the Glendower gloom with redemptive triumph 0

Posted on March 10, 2024 by Ken

A beaming Matteo Manessero holds the Jonsson Workwear Open trophy in the dark at Glendower Golf Club after his first DP World Tour triumph in nearly 11 years.
Photo: Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour

Matteo Manassero’s beaming smile lit up the gloom at Glendower Golf Club on Sunday evening, almost shining as brightly as the not-so-distant lightning strikes as the Italian won the Jonsson Workwear Open by three strokes to win for the first time on the DP World Tour since May 2013.

Manassero had every reason to be ecstatic, considering the journey he has traversed. And while a three-strokes win sounds like an easy victory, his triumph was as dramatic as they come with the 30-year-old having to conquer not only a large chasing pack but also the weather. Manassero had just gone into a one-stroke lead with a 15-foot birdie on the 16th hole when play was suspended due to the threat of lightning. After a two-and-a-half hour delay, he returned to complete the job in near-darkness and with plenty of thunder still around Glendower.

His finish was just as thunderous as Manassero went birdie-birdie to close with four birdies in a row, posting 26-under-par after a 66 in the final round. It was what was needed to hold off the staunch challenge of Thriston Lawrence (63), Shaun Norris (68) and Jordan Smith (68), who tied for second on 23-under.

To understand the magnitude of Manassero’s achievement, one has to know where he has been. The world’s top amateur in 2009, he broke a host of records for the youngest to achieve certain landmarks and in 2010 he became the youngest ever winner on the European Tour when he won the Castello Masters in Valencia aged 17 years and 188 days.

In May 2013 he won the PGA Championship at Wentworth for his fourth title and entered the top-30 in the world rankings, all before he turned 21.

And then his career nose-dived. By the end of 2018 he had lost his European Tour card and ended up on the Alps Tour, two levels down.

He gave up pro golf for a while but then won on the Alps Tour in 2020 and made his way to the Challenge Tour. He won twice last year, opening up a return to the main DP World Tour. On Sunday at Glendower, his redemption was complete.

“It is the best day of my life,” Manassero said as lightning flashed behind his head on the 18th green. “It’s been a crazy journey and I’m so incredibly happy to be here holding this trophy. It feels like it was written somewhere, to finish with those birdies.

“Glendower will stay in my heart forever and I just feel incredible right now, it’s really difficult to put it into words, but I am very proud after what I have been through. I don’t want to think about the tough times now, but there is a lot of emotion.

“Forty minutes ago we were almost coming back tomorrow to finish, so there has been a lot of tension. But I am so happy to be feeling these emotions again out on the golf course. It’s strange, we live for these emotions that take us out of our comfort zone and are difficult to handle,” Manassero said.

The par-three 15th hole was where Manassero’s winning surge began, moments after Lawrence had eagled the 17th to go into the lead on 23-under. But it was also where his challenge looked as if it might have been headed for a watery grave as his tee shot just cleared the water it was heading for, leaving him with a 12-foot birdie putt which he nailed.

“On 15 that could have been in the water. I just tried to hit an easy six-iron, but in golf you cannot predict anything. Sometimes a shot that doesn’t feel great leads to the birdie opportunity that changes everything. But that was more than two-and-a-half hours ago and I have been through a lot of emotion since then!”

Before the weather delay, the co-sanctioned tournament with the Sunshine Tour seemed inexorably headed for a fascinating finish. Manassero admitted that his many challengers were in his thoughts.

“The guys behind me on the leaderboard were playing some incredible golf. Every time I looked at the leaderboard, there was a different guy and more birdies. There was always someone chasing me.”

And Manassero himself was chasing a DP World Tour victory of enormous personal magnitude. Having fallen into the trap of chasing results and outcomes, instead of focusing on process, during his first career as a professional golfer, the product of Verona also admitted that, of course, he had thoughts of winning right through the final round.

“There’s always a bit of back-of-forth in your mind, that is normal. But you also try and think other thoughts, really anything that is positive, things that I say to myself to help me play more freely. But to think about the result is normal, just not constantly because then it becomes really hard to express yourself and hit the ball straight,” Manassero explained.

While Lawrence and Norris led the South African challenge, Oliver Bekker was also a member of the chasing pack, a birdie on the 17th putting him one shot off the lead. But the 39-year-old then hit his approach on the 18th into the water next to the green, finishing with a double-bogey that left him in a tie for sixth on 21-under-par.

Amla shining like a diamond in the gloom 0

Posted on April 16, 2015 by Ken

Hashim Amla’s skill was shining like a diamond in the Centurion gloom as his unbeaten half-century gave South Africa a solid platform on a SuperSport Park pitch on which steep bounce made batting hard in the fifth Momentum One-Day International against the West Indies on Wednesday.

Amla had moved to 54 not out off 52 balls, taking South Africa to 114 for two after 21 overs, midway through their innings in a match reduced to 42 overs a side due to rain.

The West Indies had won the toss and unsurprisingly elected to bowl first after bad weather wiped out two-and-a-half hours of play, and their pacemen were able to extract awkward bounce, some of it inconsistent, to trouble the South African top-order.

Cross-batted leg-side shots cost both Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis their wickets, while Rilee Rossouw was enjoying a few lives as he battled to 24 not out off 40 deliveries with just one boundary.

De Kock, playing his first game for the Proteas since doing his ankle ligaments at the same ground in mid-December, had just one scoring stroke, a lofted square-drive for four off Sheldon Cottrell, before Jason Holder removed him with his third delivery of the match.

De Kock tried to pull a shortish delivery away on the leg-side but could only splice the ball, sending a simple catch looping on the off-side.

Du Plessis hung around for 27 balls, hitting two fours, as he and Amla added a run-a-ball 53 for the second wicket, before Andre Russell banged one in head-high, a top-edged hook landing in fine leg’s hands. South Africa’s T20 captain was out for 16.

Rossouw, the ultimate in feast or famine batting it seems, came to the crease in the 11th over in the number four position, the return of De Kock having shifted him out of the opening berth.

The left-hander was not always fluent at the crease, but he enjoyed some of the luck which has previously not been with him in the 13 other innings of his ODI career.

Seamer Carlos Brathwaite was the best of the West Indian bowlers, joining the attack in the ninth over and immediately dropping the run-rate with a tight line on the off stump, just 18 runs coming from the 26-year-old’s six-over spell.

 http://citizen.co.za/316612/amla-shines-centurion/

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    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.

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