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Ken Borland

SA prodigy among a trio of leaders 0

Posted on May 08, 2024 by Ken

Kiera Floyd, a 19-year-old South African prodigy and Englishwoman Georgia Coughlin, who took to the sport late, are leading alongside Ellen Hutchinson-Kay, a Swede who came through the U.S. College system, after the first round of the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge at the Blue Valley Golf Estate on Wednesday.

The trio all started on the 10th tee and posted four-under-par 68s on a sweltering day in Centurion, giving them a one-stroke lead over six golfers on three-under on a congested leaderboard.

Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up three more top-10 finishes on tour.

On Wednesday Floyd birdied the 10th, 12th, 17th and 18th holes to go out in 33, and although the front nine proved more challenging, a birdie at the ninth saw her come home in one-under.

Coughlin only took up golf when she was 16 and living in Saudi Arabia, but by the time she was 23 she had a Ladies European Tour card.

The 28-year-old had a dramatic start with three birdies and a bogey in her first four holes, going out in 34 and then making further gains with birdies on the first and fourth holes. Coughlin closed bogey-birdie, as did Hutchinson-Kay and Floyd.

Hutchinson-Kay is a University of Mississippi graduate and she also turned pro last year. The 25-year-old finished just outside the top-10 in the previous Sunshine Ladies Tour event, the SuperSport Ladies Challenge.

On Wednesday, Hutchinson-Key did the bulk of her scoring in a fantastic run of four birdies in five holes from the 14th.

For Floyd, the back nine (her front) was also the time to capitalise.

“Today was a good day, I hit the ball really nicely and gave myself lots of opportunities, which you have to grab when you can. This course definitely suits us big-hitters, it’s always open and you can let go a bit. I was normally hitting seven-iron into the greens,” Floyd said.

“I didn’t give myself as much opportunity on the front nine, but I pulled through in the end, to finish with a tap-in birdie was really nice. I made two silly mistakes that cost me birdies, but that’s okay, you just have to move on. You need to keep level-headed and not get ahead of yourself.”

The Sunshine Ladies Tour golfers showed their talents in impressive fashion on Wednesday at the oblong Blue Valley Golf Estate, despite the heat, with 27 of the 61-strong field finishing under-par. The increased opportunities provided by the tour are clearly paying off, and are attracting strong international competition, and it is thanks to partners like Fidelity ADT.

Wahl Bartmann, the CEO of Fidelity Services Group, said “As Southern Africa’s largest integrated security solutions provider, we are committed to uplifting and supporting women’s professional sport. Our partnership with the Sunshine Ladies Tour allows us to show our support tangibly and help create more opportunities for women in sport.” 

Renier von Zeuner, the Group Sponsorship Manager, added “We have been involved with the SA Open, as well as the Senior Tour, for a number of years, so adding a Sunshine Ladies Tour event to our portfolio is a tremendous privilege. We are honoured to contribute to the work done by the Sunshine Ladies Tour team, and incredibly proud of our group’s commitment to women’s sport.”

Verreynne does not hide away from fact Proteas suffered soft dismissals 0

Posted on July 27, 2023 by Ken

Kyle Verreynne, South Africa’s leading run-scorer in the series so far, did not hide away from the fact that the Proteas suffered soft dismissals on the opening day of the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, but he said the tourists’ batsmen were still in a positive frame of mind.

South Africa were bundled out for just 189 on Monday, with Verreynne (52) and Marco Jansen (59) scoring the bulk of those runs in a sixth-wicket stand of 112. Although both of them were caught behind the wicket in successive overs from Cameron Green, edging deliveries outside off-stump, their dismissals were far from soft in comparison to some of their colleagues.

After being sent in to bat, South Africa’s initial collapse from 56 for one to 67 for five had been triggered by Theunis de Bruyn’s wild pull shot and captain Dean Elgar’s crazy run out. Sarel Erwee and Khaya Zondo were both caught off drives that were over-ambitious and poorly executed, while Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada, who have scored valuable runs for the Proteas in the past, were both out to poor strokes.

“In our last few innings, we’ve been getting out to a lot of good balls and the bowlers have really stuck to their plans, but today there were more soft dismissals, which was the disappointing thing,” Verreynne said after passing fifty for the third time in his 13 Tests.

“But behind closed doors, our batsmen are in a good space and we’ve been having really positive conversations. We know we have to make sure the top six puts the runs on the board and we can’t rely on our lower-order to do it.

“We put pressure on Australia with the ball in the last innings in Brisbane, so we have a lot of confidence that our bowlers can do the job. But it’s a pity that we rely so much on them.

“It would be nice for the batsmen to put a good target on the board for them for a change. But you have to give credit to the Australian bowlers, we had a big partnership and put pressure on them, but they stuck at it,” Verreynne said.

With far less conventional movement on offer than in Brisbane, cross-seam deliveries were one of the vehicles the home attack used to great effect on Monday. None more so than Green, who claimed a career-best five for 27 in 10.4 overs.

“A couple of overs before myself and Marco were dismissed, they started to go cross-seam in order to rough up one side of the ball and it felt like it was just tailing in a bit,” Verreynne said. “Not too much was happening for them, so credit to them for trying something.

“Green is a bit different to the other bowlers because he is so tall, so he gets bounce and he has the ability to shape the ball, as does Mitchell Starc.

“But Green has that bit extra and they use him in short bursts so he brings a lot of energy. It’s a luxury Australia have, so the batsmen have to make sure they’re switched on against him,” Verreynne said.

Blair Atholl the longest course in Euro Tour history & a ‘Driver-fest’ according to Frittelli 0

Posted on March 08, 2023 by Ken

The Blair Atholl Golf and Country Estate course will play at 7462 metres for the South African Open starting on Thursday, the longest in DP World Tour history, and it will be a “Driver-fest” according to leading local contender Dylan Frittelli.

The 32-year-old Frittelli is one of a host of South Africans who generally compete abroad who have returned for the national open, the second oldest in the game, and still considered a hugely prestigious title.

Frittelli, who competes on the PGA Tour, is known as a solid and lengthy driver of the ball, so he was looking forward to tackling Blair Atholl for the first time.

“It’s what I expected – a long course with wide fairways,” Frittelli said after his pro-am round on Wednesday. “It will be a Driver-fest and I’m just going to try and hit the ball as long and as straight as I can.

“It’s a cliche but that and making some putts, on greens that have a lot more character than I was expecting, literally defines this course.

“I think we will be hitting a lot more shots from 140-190 metres on the par-fours, but if it stays dry and hot then we’ll still be hitting the ball 340 off the tee.

“So I think it’s going to be a good mix and I would urge the organisers not to push the tees forward. We don’t want 23-under winning the SA Open. And I’ve got to win the SA Open before my career is over,” Frittelli said.

Charl Schwartzel is another who is extremely determined to win the SA Open for the first time after some near misses, and he used to live on the Blair Atholl Estate, so he knows the course intimately. He and other returning South Africans like Branden Grace, George Coetzee, Thriston Lawrence and Shaun Norris are always a threat in these co-sanctioned events.

Defending champion Danie van Tonder looked in good form in last week’s Joburg Open but his putter just refused to play along, but a new host course for the SA Open could well throw up a new champion.

Dean Burmester seems to always be contending somewhere in the world these days and he is back, hungry and equipped with one of the biggest drives in the field.

“Blair Atholl is loooong, that was my first impression,” Burmester said. “There will be some positional stuff required and it lends itself to good mid and long iron play, but a lot of it is going to come down to long-hitting.

“The bunkers are often 300-310 metres from the tee and you need to be able to cover that in your game or it’s going to be a long week for you. If you’re short of that, then you better pack your fairway woods and metal hybrids.”

Wilco Nienaber is always up there with the longest drivers on tour and was in contention at the Joburg Open, but Louis de Jager is perhaps the dark horse to watch. He is a quality driver of the ball and his fifth place in the Joburg Open was his fourth top-10 finish since August.

Grace & Walters the leading South Africans; can count themselves lucky to be in NGC 0

Posted on February 10, 2023 by Ken

Branden Grace and Justin Walters are the leading South Africans after the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge and both can probably count themselves as being fortunate to be in the tournament.

Grace and Walters both shot two-under-par 70s to be in share of 12th place, and six shots off Ryan Fox’s lead, alongside Max Kieffer, Romain Langasque, David Law, Paul Waring, Dale Whitnell, Matthew Jordan and defending champion and highest-ranked golfer, Tommy Fleetwood.

Grace was one-over-par at the turn and picked up three birdies on the back nine to turn his round around, and Walters started his round on the 10th and struggled initially, with a double-bogey and a bogey before his turn, but then he picked up four birdies on the front nine and did not drop another shot.

Grace is one of the golfers who has joined the controversial LIV Tour and is 207th on the DP World Tour rankings, well out of the qualifying spaces, and the last South African winner of the Nedbank Golf Challenge, in 2017, relied on an invitation to be in the tournament.

Walters is 72st on the order of merit and relied on a few top golfers not coming to Sun City for his place.

“It’s very nice to be here and I’m just grateful to the DP World Tour, Nedbank and Sun International for the invite,” Grace said. “I love coming back here. It’s really nice to see your name on the walkway on the ninth and your trophy photo on the 18th. It helps your self-belief.”

Perhaps not coincidentally, Grace’s resurgence began shortly after the turn.

“I was my familiar couple-over-par after the first couple of holes, I don’t know what it is about the front nine here. I always seem to be on the back foot, but I managed to get it together.

“My first goal was to just be level-par after the ninth, and in the end I’m very happy to be two-under. The back nine was an opportunity for me to go after things a bit.

“With my shape and length off the tee, I just have more opportunities on the back nine. But especially on a golf course like this, you are never too far away from falling,” Grace said.

For Walters, his Nedbank Golf Challenge debut is enough of a highlight for the 42-year-old, who has won twice on the Sunshine Tour.

“It’s my first Nedbank Golf Challenge. I’ve been a pro for 20 years, I’ve been around and I always wanted to play in it, so I’m just trying to put my best foot forward.

“When I was 21, I played with my Dad at Country Club Johannesburg and I shot 61. He said if I keep playing like that then I will play in the Nedbank Golf Challenge in a couple of years.

“It’s taken twenty years, but I am here now. Unfortunately I made a pretty bad start, I was rattled a bit. But then I made a few putts, starting with a 30-footer on the third, and I felt the switch of momentum,” Walters said.

“I hit some great shots coming in and golf is all about momentum – you get it going in your direction and then you must just ride the wave.”

Shaun Norris and Richard Sterne were the other South Africans under par, sneaking in with 71s, while Oliver Bekker, JC Ritchie and George Coetzee finished level-par.

It was not such a great day for Christiaan Bezuidenhout (+1) or Thriston Lawrence (+2), who could both only register one birdie, while Zander Lombard shot a 76.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    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.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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