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Ken Borland



Lions Ladies return to the field with great glee after 3 months out of action 0

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Ken

After being out of action for three months, it is with great glee that the DP World Lions Ladies team will return to the field this weekend, as they travel to Durban to take on the HollywoodBets Dolphins in both a one-day and a T20 match.

The Dolphins will be tough opponents in the 50-over contest, where they are top of the log, three points ahead of the Titans with a game in hand, and nine points better off than the Lions.

But those tables are reversed in the T20 league. Western Province may be 12 points clear of the DP World Lions at the top of the standings at the moment, but our Pride are second with a game in hand and if they beat the Dolphins and also win their remaining three matches then it is possible for them to defend their title.

Their hosts this weekend have only won two of their six T20 matches this season and are languishing second-from-bottom on the log.

DP World Lions Ladies coach Shaun Pretorius says his team are ready and keen to get the second half of their season going, their last match having been their T20 visit to the Titans on November 19.

“All the hard work has been done in the last few weeks, the ladies have really been grafting and we have had good preparation for this weekend. They are excited to now just go out and jol,” Pretorius said.

“The T20 match is particularly vital for us because we are in a really good position in that competition. In the 50-over league, it’s about making sure we climb the log in our remaining matches, even if it’s just inches at a time. We are still going out to compete, not just to participate.”

The KwaZulu-Natal Coastal side’s reliance on spin at Kingsmead is no longer original and Pretorius said our DP World Lions Ladies are forewarned and well-prepared for the challenge.

“We have worked on plans to combat each of their bowlers and we think they’re going to have their best line-up without their Proteas. That means they will be without their formidable left-arm spinner Nonkululeko Mlaba, so that’s one threat that is away.

“We are aware that spin is their main threat down there and we are also looking at lots of spin-bowling options, depending on what the pitch looks like. The games will be all about those crucial small phases in the game and how we conduct ourselves in them will be the key,” Pretorius said.

The Dolphins will also be missing pace bowler Ayanda Hlubi, while the only member of the Lions Pride on duty for the Proteas Test squad is wicketkeeper/batter Sinalo Jafta. But the highly-promising Karabo Meso is most able to step into her shoes.

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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A day to test your patience at Leopard Creek 0

Posted on December 10, 2023 by Ken

MISERABLE: Louis Oosthuizen and his caddy trying to keep dry on the fourth day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.
(Photo by Tyrone Winfield/Sunshine Tour)

It was a day to test your patience at Leopard Creek on Sunday as thundershowers limited play to just over two hours of action, restricting the great title showdown between Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel to just seven holes which failed to break the deadlock between the two longtime friends.

Leaders Oosthuizen and Schwartzel, together with Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who began the final round five shots behind, teed off at 10am and were able to play four holes before the first storms moved over Malelane.

In that time, both Oosthuizen (2nd hole) and Schwartzel (3rd) managed to collect a birdie, while Bezuidenhout made his presence felt with birdies on the par-five second and par-four third holes to cut the gap to four strokes.

The lingering threat of lightning meant play was only able to resume at 4pm, and even then it only lasted 43 rather miserably wet minutes before thunder rumbled again and play was called off for the day.

Not much had changed in that time, although Oosthuizen must have had his heart in his mouth after he hit his tee-shot on the par-three seventh into the water. He showed his mettle, however, as he stroked in a 25ft putt to limit the damage to just a bogey.

Having just birdied the short par-four sixth after a lovely approach shot to six feet, it meant Oosthuizen dropped back to join Schwartzel on 16-under.

All three members of the final group began the final round smoothly, finding the fairways off the tee and hitting precision iron-shots. Bezuidenhout, however, had more success with the putter and he further cut the lead to three strokes as, straight after the lengthy weather delay, he rolled in a 20ft birdie putt on the par-three fifth hole.

Andy Sullivan was also cruising with two birdies in his first six holes, but he then bogeyed the par-four eighth to slip back to 11-under, five behind, alongside Germany’s Matti Schmid, who was three-under for his round.

Of the other South Africans besides the top three, Thriston Lawrence is accelerating up the leaderboard and is currently tied for eighth on eight-under, four-under for his round with three holes to play.

Jayden Schaper made a fast birdie-birdie start, but then went bogey-bogey and is level-par at the turn, also on eight-under overall.

Casey Jarvis sandwiched birdies at the first and third holes with a bogey at the par-five second, and then had a bit of a car crash on the ninth, with a double-bogey that dropped him to seven-under for the tournament, alongside Wynand Dingle.

The final round will only resume at 9am on Monday to allow the greenkeepers to ready the waterladen course.

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).

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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