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Ken Borland



Coetzee has the experience, composure & skill to get the job done despite golf being a capricious mistress 0

Posted on February 06, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – Golf is a capricious mistress and George Coetzee has been in the game for long enough to know the swing he has one day might not be around the next, but the two-time Sunshine Tour order of merit champion had the experience, composure and skill to get the job done on Sunday as he clinched his second PGA Championship title at the St Francis Links.

Coetzee had just a one-stroke lead going into the final round, but a polished four-under-par 68 on Sunday, which included two eagles and almost a third, carried him to 15-under-par and a three-stroke victory in the prestigious R1.2 million tournament.

“I was pretty much under pressure all day, I didn’t really feel comfortable and my swing wasn’t 100%,” Coetzee said after claiming his 14th Sunshine Tour title.

“But golf is one of those games, it’s not like cycling where the more you cycle the better you get. You can have one swing on one day and then the next day another swing.

“So I was putting pressure on myself, but I stuck to the game-plan, made good choices and hit good shots, and luckily it was enough in the end,” Coetzee said.

Some of those shots were better than good as an eagle on the par-five third hole brought some early pleasure, and he holed out with a sand-wedge for an eagle-two on the par-four 10th hole. In between those highlights, he could also have eagled the 350-yard par-four fifth hole after driving the green, but his putt was narrowly wide.

“We were put on the clock on the fifth and I didn’t have time to read my putt properly,” Coetzee laughed.

Unusually, Coetzee made bogey on the following hole on both occasions he registered an eagle.

“I was really happy with my two eagles after I saw a lot of chances in the third round. But then it was a bit hard to calm down and get back into my rhythm, get my head back into a good space,” Coetzee admitted.

But back-to-back birdies on the 12th and 13th holes put him firmly in control of the tournament and he parred his way in from the 14th for a comfortable victory in the end.

Rookie Casey Jarvis produced his best Sunshine Tour result as he finished second after a final-round 69, and the experienced duo of Hennie Otto and Jake Redman were tied in third place, one stroke behind on 11-under-par, both shooting two-under-par 70s on Sunday.

Coetzee will now head to Sun City and this week’s Nedbank Golf Challenge, which is like the AGM of South African professional golf, assured that he has the game in place to contend for that massive title.

“The confidence I take from beating the field here is a big boost and I’m generally pretty happy with the swing that has shown up for the last couple of weeks,” Coetzee said.

Free State show they might be the team to chase in the Currie Cup 0

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Ken

The Free State Cheetahs showed that they might well be the team to chase in the Currie Cup as they downed the previously-unbeaten, two-time defending champions, the Bulls, 38-25 in an all-action display at Loftus Versfeld on Wednesday night.

It was clear from the outset, when the Cheetahs kept the ball alive with offloads and passing through multiple phases, that the visitors were after tries and they scored six of them. Two of them were via hooker Louis van der Westhuizen at the maul, but the rest were slickly worked and the reward for ball-in-hand rugby.

Flank Andisa Ntsila’s grubber through for wing Rosko Specman to score was an early highlight.

A helter skelter first 20 minutes saw the Bulls match the Free Staters on the scoreboard, even if they only scored two tries to the three of the Cheetahs. Nineteen-year-old debutant loose forward Cameron Hanekom was rewarded for following up a botched restart by the visitors for the opening try, and a good long pass out wide by flyhalf Chris Smith led to the second try by wing Stravino Jacobs.

Fullback Clayton Blommetjies cutting through for a try after a lovely angled run by flyhalf Siya Masuku was not enough to prevent Free State actually trailing by one point (19-20) at halftime.

But the Bulls were left chasing the game in the second half as very little went right for them.

They had practically zero lineout platform and a physical, streetwise Cheetahs pack meant the Bulls’ rolling maul had no traction.

Referee Paul Mente was also ruthless in targeting their ill-discipline and both lock Reinhardt Ludwig and prop Lizo Gqoboka were yellow-carded in the final quarter.

The problems started in the 47th minute when wing Siyabonga Novuka was a fraction-of-a-second early in tackling Specman in the air. The Cheetahs set the maul, went wide right and then, when they came back left, there were no defenders left and lock Aidon Davis strolled over for the try.

The visitors built on their lead 12 minutes later when Van der Westhuizen rumbled over for his second try and Masuku then put in a lovely crosskick for Ntsila to score to put Free State 38-20 up and out of sight.

Scorers

Bulls: Tries – Cameron Hanekom, Stravino Jacobs, Siyabonga Novuka. Conversions – Chris Smith (2). Penalty – Smith. Drop goal – Smith.

Free State Cheetahs: Tries – Rosko Specman, Louis van der Westhuizen (2), Clayton Blommetjies, Aidon Davis, Andisa Ntsila. Conversions – Ruan Pienaar (4).

Greene had a feeling … and his composure and skill took him all the way to victory 0

Posted on October 29, 2021 by Ken

GQEBERHA, Eastern Cape – Daniel Greene had a feeling that his 12-year wait for a first win on the Sunshine Tour might come to an end this week at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series Humewood event and the 36-year-old never stopped believing, and his composure and skill was enough to take him to victory on the first hole of a playoff with Tristen Strydom.

Greene and Strydom both shot two-under-par 70s on Saturday to finish on five-under-par overall, and Greene parred the first playoff hole to take the honours when his younger rival, also looking for his first win, made bogey.

“You don’t really think after so long on tour without a win that it can happen, but it being windy here for the last week, I had a feeling from Tuesday that I could win and I just kept believing in myself. Even today on the 17th hole, when I was one behind, I still had that belief. My golf has improved inland but I’m still a lot more comfortable on the coast.

“For it to happen at Humewood, where I should have won in 2010, it’s surreal. Maybe I should believe in myself more often because it shows that nothing is out of reach, even 11 years later, if you never stop believing,” Greene said after his maiden title.

Back in 2010, in the Vodacom Business tournament at Humewood Golf Club, Greene finished second as he double-bogeyed both the 17th and 18th holes on the last day, allowing Ulrich van den Berg to snatch the win.

This time Greene was the beneficiary of an opponent letting it slip as Strydom bogeyed the 17th and after their respective bogeys on the last hole, the KwaZulu-Natalian had nothing but sympathy for the 24-year-old.

Strydom was ideally placed after his second shot was on the fringe of the green, but he decided to chip instead of putt and then missed a makeable par putt.

“It was unfortunate for Tristen and I know exactly what he feels like after it happened to me in 2010. He played very well and hit the ball really nicely, but all I was doing was concentrating on my score and taking it shot-by-shot. I didn’t know the score and when we both made bogey on the 18th, I asked him if he had won because people were clapping like he had,” Greene revealed.

It turned out their final scores were the same – five-under-par 211 – and Greene still had one more hole to play to exorcise his Humewood demons.

Given that half-a-dozen of Greene’s best performances have been on the coast, it was perhaps not that surprising that his perseverance was finally rewarded at Humewood’s famous links on an awfully windy day.

Bulls defence coach Mongalo does not want a high-scoring ‘try-fest’ 0

Posted on September 23, 2021 by Ken

As entertaining as a high-scoring Currie Cup final might be, Joey Mongalo said on Thursday that in his position as the Bulls defence coach, he never wants to be a part of a game that is described as a “try-fest” by the media.

The Sharks visit the Bulls on Saturday trying to overturn last season’s Currie Cup final result between the same two teams at Loftus Versfeld, and the talk emanating from Durban has been that they will be chasing tries. Mongalo said he will be happy with a 12-9 win for the Bulls.

“Some of our scorelines in this Currie Cup a defence coach can’t be proud of and I never want to be part of a game that is described as ‘a great try-fest’ by the media. Whereas last year there were a lot of penalties given to the defending side, with referees very strict on cleaners coming in on the side, now there are a lot more penalties going the way of the attacking side.

“So teams are generally playing a lot more expansively, so there’s a lot more transition and more tries being scored. But it’s just going to be a battle on Saturday, a really titanic battle, like two heavyweight boxers going at each other, whether that’s through scoring penalties or tries. For myself, I’d obviously rather have a 12-9 score to the Bulls,” Mongalo said.

The long-serving former Lions defence coach says, for all the talk of expansive rugby coming from Durban, his counterpart in the Sharks team, the experienced John McFarland, will also not want to just let the Bulls score tries willy-nilly.

“He’d also rather have 12-9. John Mac is a well-respected man and he’s definitely had an impact on not only their defence but their kicking game and breakdowns. They have a lot of emphasis on connectivity and staying in the fight. John’s defensive system is in the same mould as the Springboks with a high-calibre rush-defence built around a strong kicking game and set-piece, but with a bit more running rugby.

“The Sharks might come here and play Test rugby – contesting and trying to dominate the set-pieces. Or it could be all about attack with Lionel Cronje running the game from flyhalf and trying to put us under pressure by making lots of tackles. Or they could play a combination of those games. But us and the Sharks are the only teams to have conceded less than 32 tries, so the defence teams can be proud of that,” Mongalo said.

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