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Ken Borland



Schaper well-bronzed after a sweltering day at Blair Atholl … & with the SA Open lead 0

Posted on December 02, 2023 by Ken

Jayden Schaper during the third round of the South African Open at Blair Atholl Golf & Equestrian Estate.
(Photo by Carl Fourie/Sunshine Tour)

Jayden Schaper is fairskinned and baby-faced, but he came off the Blair Atholl course on Saturday looking well-bronzed after a sweltering third round of the South African Open. More importantly, he also headed for a cold shower with a marvellous 67 and a share of the lead.

The 22-year-old Schaper started the SA Open in solid fashion but under the radar as he posted back-to-back 70s to sit with the pack of 10 other golfers in 15th place. But on Saturday when temperatures in the mid-30s and wicked pin-placements combined for the toughest round yet, he stood tall and emerged as the frontrunner, along with compatriot and buddy Ryan van Velzen, for the third oldest national title in golf.

And his third round did not even start auspiciously as he bogeyed the par-five first hole. But thereafter he was tremendously controlled as he collected consecutive birdies on the fourth and fifth holes and another at the par-four ninth to reach the turn on three-under.

He then birdied the three par-fives on the back nine – the 10th, 13th and 18th holes – to finish on nine-under-par.

Van Velzen, seven months younger than Schaper and also hailing from the East Rand, followed up his stunning 65 in the second round with a solid 70 on Saturday. He made a blazing start with three birdies in four holes from the second, but a couple of bogeys followed, before his only other birdie of the third day, on the par-three 17th.

South Africans could well dominate the podium after Sunday’s final round, with Louis de Jager (70) one behind on eight-under and Dean Burmester in a tie for fourth on seven-under after a terrific 65.

Whoever adapts best to what is expected to be another ferocious test at Blair Atholl on Sunday will take the spoils, and there is a dangerous overseas contingent, led by a resurgent Matteo Manassero (-7) also scrapping for the prestigious title.

“I have some good memories of this course and this event, but today it was a brute,” a sweating Schaper said shortly after his round. “It’s very long with massive greens and it was cooking today with a dry heat that fried the greens and made things even trickier.

“I would have taken a 67 with both hands at the start of the day. I just tried to keep focused, my hands dry and my body hydrated. It was never going to be too easy making birdies today. It’s a tough course and on moving day you expect some easy pin positions and the tee-boxes being moved forward so guys can make some birdies. But it was just the opposite today and it was brutal.

“I caught a few glimpses of the leaderboard and you just try to keep yourself in it. I’ve been in a lot of positions like this, you learn from them and now it feels pretty much normal. You always want to win your national open and this would be an awesome one to make my first pro win,” Schaper said.

The prevalent view of the leaders was that patience is going to be key on a testing final day.

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt in the last year is that golf is about patience,” Schaper, one of the rising stars of South African golf, said. “I’ve based my game on consistency and I’m more than happy to have top-10s every week.

“Because of my strong junior and amateur careers, I definitely know I can handle the pressure on Sunday. Golf is about constantly growing and developing and the more experience you get, the more comfortable you feel out there,” Schaper said.

“You have to play smart golf, stay very patient and be fine with making pars out there,” Van Velzen said. “Don’t go chasing birdies with those tough flags because that’s how bogeys are made.”

Salute understaffed Internationals for doing Presidents Cup credit 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

One can only salute Trevor Immelman’s understaffed International team for their heroic comeback in the Presidents Cup at the weekend, and even though they were eventually beaten 17½-12½, they did themselves and, perhaps most importantly, the event a huge credit.

The United States had won the last eight successive editions of the biennial tournament, so they were overwhelming favourites even before the defections to LIV Golf decimated Immelman’s team. The South African captain was forced to choose eight rookies for the event. His highest-ranked player was Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, ranked 14th in the world; there were 10 Americans ranked higher.

And then the Internationals suffered a nightmare start as they crashed 8-2, and then 11-4, behind on the first two days.

But the Internationals stood tall on the weekend, winning 10½ of the last 20 points. At one stage on the final day singles, they had closed to within two points of the United States, with several other games in the balance.

For those who love the Presidents Cup and team golf, it was wonderful to see the Internationals fight so hard to prove their competitiveness. They may have lost the match, but they ensured this event will survive for at least a while longer.

Many seasoned observers have marvelled at the number of long-range putts the Americans sank during the event. It almost seemed like whenever they looked at the hole, even from miles away, they would sink the putt.

While one should credit the hosts for their attacking mindset, it’s probably fair to say they also enjoyed some good fortune.

South Africa’s only other member of the team, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, was unbeaten with 1½ points, although he somewhat surprisingly only played two matches.

“We showed a lot of guts to fight back,” Immelman said after the defeat. “At some point this afternoon, I thought there was still a chance.

“When you consider we were 8-2 down, this team is no joke, and I’m sick and tired of it being spoken of as a joke. We love this event, we love our team, and we cannot wait to have another shot.”

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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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