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Ken Borland

Van Tonder operates clinically again; when final putt fell it meant he had an eagle for a 3-shot lead 0

Posted on October 05, 2020 by Ken

When Danie van Tonder’s 40-foot eagle putt fell on his last hole of the second round of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded at Huddle Park Golf Club on Thursday, it catapulted him from a narrow one-shot lead heading into the final round of the last Rise Up Series event into a sizeable three-shot advantage.

Finishing on the par-five ninth hole, it was a magnificent way to end a round which up till then had been more solid than spectacular. On a cooler day which meant Van Tonder could not bomb the ball quite as far, the hottest golfer in South Africa was four-under-par for his round, enough when combined with his superb 63 on the first day to take him to 13-under overall, one shot ahead of Jacques Blaauw.

But the eagle saw him finish with a six-under-par 66, taking him out to 15-under for the tournament. Even for a man who operates as clinically as Van Tonder, it was a spectacular strike at just the right time.

“I hit a good drive and I had 175 to the pin, so I hit an eight-iron as hard as I can and it finished pin-high, but I was left with a 40-foot snake of a putt. I didn’t really think about my lead, tomorrow [Friday] will just be another round in which I try and shoot less than 70. If I hit fairways and make putts for 18 holes then it will be like matchplay and with pars and birdies it will be hard to beat me.

“I just need to play the golf course and try to birdie everything I can. It’s easy, just grip it and hit it and trust yourself. I played well today [Thursday] but missed a couple of birdies. But at least I gave myself chances so I am still happy, the ones I missed just rolled over the lips of the holes and I knew sooner or later I would make one. I was never really getting into trouble,” Van Tonder said after his round.

Blaauw was able to hop up the leaderboard with an impressive five-under-par 67 and led for much of the day on 12-under before Van Tonder overtook him late in the day. An excellent round with the putter meant the four-time Sunshine Tour winner was confident he could secure his first trophy since winning the Sishen Vodacom Origins event four years ago.

“I’m working hard for the win and I can’t really point the finger at something in particular that is stopping me. But rolling in some putts today made a difference, I’m hitting the ball good and my caddy is reading the greens well, he just tells me where to hit it. So I’m confident and I just need to stick to what I know best. There’s a lot that could still happen,” Blaauw told The Citizen.

Promising rookie Malcolm Mitchell and veteran Adilson da Silva, who fired a brilliant bogey-free 64 on Thursday, are on 11-under and also have the potential to challenge Van Tonder as he goes for his third Rise Up Series title.

Anton Haig shot the round of the day in the second round with a 63, that included two eagles, to go to 10-under, giving himself a chance of his first professional win  since 2013, along with Jaco Ahlers, who is clearly in good touch after back-to-back 67s, and Louis de Jager, who slipped back a bit with a 70 on Thursday.

Talented youngsters Clayton Mansfield (67), Gideon van der Vyver (64) and Ruan Korb (66) are also on 10-under.

Birdies & eagles & nearly an albatross for Van Tonder, but goslings were safe 0

Posted on October 01, 2020 by Ken

There were so many birdies, a couple of eagles and very nearly an albatross for the red-hot Danie van Tonder on Wednesday that one half-expected the Rise Up Series order of merit leader to shoot something new and extraordinary like a gosling in the first round of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded at Huddle Park Golf Club.

Van Tonder instead settled for a wonderful nine-under-par 63 in a superb round of golf that meant the baby Egyptian Geese in danger were the ones way down the fairway and certainly not those around the water hazards. The 29-year-old collected six birdies and two eagles as he basically overwhelmed the course from the tees. He very nearly scored an albatross two at the 438-metre par-five 14th hole, when his approach lipped out of the hole.

“I’m very happy, the Driver gave me lots of chances with wedges to get really close to the pins. On 14, I hit a five-wood off the tee and then had 110 to the pin, I took my lob-wedge and said to my caddy that I must go for some spin, and I spun it back almost into the hole for a two. But almost all the holes are birdie holes, you can attack the pins and there are lots of chances on every hole.

“I’m quite happy about everything in my game, it’s great to see my hard work paying off and I’m just going to keep on practising and trying to get better. It’s a new day tomorrow and I will try and make a 10-under 62, you never know. I’ll go home now and wait for the rain to come – the greens are already very receptive and rolling nicely,” Van Tonder said after starting his hunt for a third Rise Up Series title in perfect fashion.

Four-time Sunshine Tour winner Christiaan Basson has had a disappointing Rise Up Series, only making the cut at the African Bank Championship at Glendower, but on Wednesday he played like he had a personal grudge against Huddle Park as he fired an eight-under-par 64.

He was joined on that score soon afterwards when Louis de Jager, playing in the same three-ball as Van Tonder, finished with three 3s to also sign for a brilliant 64.

It was also a good day for the experienced and consistent Jacques Blaauw, who also had two eagles on his way to a 65, and Musiwalo Nethunzwi, who also finished on seven-under alongside rookie Malcolm Mitchell.

Young Jayden Schaper produced one of the more exciting rounds of the day as he eagled the first three par-fives on his way to a 66 that gave him seventh place all by himself.

On a day when one golfer was heard to enquire “where is the rest of the par-five?”, it was a very disappointing first round for Darren Fichardt, Van Tonder’s only rival for the Rise Up Series order of merit title, as he let himself down by coming home in 38 shots (the back nine was tougher on Wednesday) to finish with a 72. With 64 golfers shooting under-par on the first day, Fichardt’s battle is now to make the cut.

Van Tonder has shown willingness to dare to be different … & nothing will change now 0

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Ken

Danie van Tonder has shown his willingness to dare to be different and his commitment to an aggressive approach, and he is not going to change any of that when he tees it up early on Wednesday morning at Huddle Park Golf Club in the first round of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded, the final event of the Rise Up Series he is currently leading.

Van Tonder, given the incredible consistency he has shown in finishing in the top-10 in his last 13 events, dating back a year, will be the favourite in a two-horse race to win the order of merit for the Sunshine Tour’s return-to-play series, with Darren Fichardt trailing the 29-year-old from Copperleaf by more than R37 000.

George Coetzee is third, but is away in Europe, and Ulrich van den Berg is fourth, but nearly R112 000 behind Van Tonder, with the winner of the Vodacom Championship Reloaded taking home R95 100.

“Nothing will change, I’m just carrying on with practising and working hard. I’ve played practice rounds at Huddle Park both yesterday [Monday] and today [Tuesday] and the greens are nice and soft and rolling nicely, so that will suit my aggressive style. I’m going to go flag-hunting, I can hit the ball right at the pin and not worry about it bouncing off the green.

“I don’t mind what anyone else is doing, it’s the same for everyone and I will still just go out there and go for fairways and greens and make as many birdies as I can. There are four par-fives and nine par-fours, so if I can shoot six or seven-under then that will be a good round. It’s quite a nice course because I can hit Driver everywhere,” Van Tonder told The Citizen on Tuesday.

There are many in the local game who see similarities between Van Tonder and Bryson de Chambeau, the U.S. Open champion who is threatening to change the entire sport in ferociously single-minded fashion. The South African, who jokingly points out that he is a couple of years older than De Chambeau so he must have copied him, shares the same stiff-armed swing and unflinchingly aggressive approach with the American.

“I’ve always been happy to do my own thing. My swing is not textbook, so I had a lot of people advising me against pro golf when I started out. As I got better the critics started saying things like, ‘How do you plan on making a living out of golf with a swing like that?’ But luckily I didn’t listen too much. Fortunately I have a little bit of the water-off-a-duck’s-back attitude.”

Given how savagely dominant he has been in the Rise Up Series, there is no need for Van Tonder to change anything. It may be cruel the way he is depriving all the other struggling pros a share of the big prizemoney at the moment, but they can hopefully lift their own games to provide fierce competition in this final event.

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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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