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Ken Borland

Move to Lost City a boost for McCallum 0

Posted on April 03, 2024 by Ken

SUN CITY, North-West – This year’s SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Sun City from Wednesday has been moved from the Gary Player Country Club to Lost City, and Tandi McCallum reckons that is a boost for her chances, even though she finished runner-up in this event at GPCC in 2020.

That year, McCallum was edged out in a playoff by Lejan Lewthwaite, but the Johannesburger won the Sun International Ladies Challenge at Lost City in 2014.

“I’ve actually done better at Lost City, I won there in 2014 and I prefer it to the Gary Player Country Club, which I know a lot of connoisseurs will frown on. I just enjoy being there, it suits my eye and it rewards golfers who hit it very straight and putt well,” McCallum said.

“Lost City demands that you be a bit more strategic, it’s very firm on the side of the mountain and the undulating fairways mean you have got to be in good positions. The key is to be on the fairways, but they are so hard that you can’t overpower the course. I find Gary Player Country Club has more generous fairways.”

Fortunately for much of the field playing in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, they will be coming from the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, which required some advanced golfing skills and would have battle-hardened the Sunshine Ladies Tour contingent.

McCallum played solidly enough to finish in a tie for 13th on 10-over-par, the winning score being Kylie Henry’s three-under-par 213. The Scotswoman is teeing it up again at Lost City, but many of the other European golfers have moved on to the Ladies European Tour, which has an event in Morocco starting on Thursday.

“I didn’t play super-well on day three when there were fantastic conditions but a very challenging set-up,” McCallum said. “But it was good to shake off any rust and I was very happy to make the cut.

“It’s great for us South Africans to be able to compare ourselves with the international players, but this week there is an overlapping LET event. Generally our tour has international players who don’t have full cards in Europe, so if they get a start over there then they will take it. But we will still have a very competitive field at Lost City.”

Veteran Lee-Anne Pace, who charged up the leaderboard on the final day at Fancourt to finish second, will be looking to go one better this week and LPGA star and 2022 SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner Paula Reto is also in the field.

A young up-and-coming talent to watch is 19-year-old Gabrielle Venter, who finished tied-fifth at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, her best ever Sunshine Ladies Tour result.

Dawson cleans up her game after rocky start to move 2 clear 0

Posted on March 12, 2024 by Ken

GEORGE, Western Cape – Ana Dawson moved two shots clear at the top of the leaderboard after the second round of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt on Saturday, managing to clean up her game after a rocky start, posting an excellent three-under-par 69 to move to four-under overall.

With the terrible weather of the opening round clearing, scores were lower at both the Montague and Outeniqua courses on Saturday. Alexandra Swayne also shot a 69 to move to two-under-par alongside Scotland’s Kylie Henry (70) in second place.

Dawson, who led by one after a 71 in the first round, began her round on Montague on Saturday with two bogeys in the first three holes, although she did birdie the par-three second.

The 22-year-old from the Isle of Man was much tidier thereafter, however, not dropping another shot until the par-four 15th. In between, Dawson birdied the sixth, ninth and 11th holes. She then brought a big finish as she birdied the par-four 16th and par-five 18th holes to end the day in prime position going into the final round.

South Africans Kiera Floyd (70) and Cara Gorlei (69) also did well on the Montague course to be tied for fourth on one-under, but there is a new local challenger in contention in veteran Lee-Anne Pace, who won this tournament in 2014 when it was down the road at George Golf Club.

Pace fired a fine 69, with six birdies and three bogeys to join her compatriots on one-under-par. The highlight of her round was an eagle-three on the ninth hole, while she also birdied the sixth and 10th holes. Her only bogey came on the par-four 14th.

From heading to France with no future in SA, Sharks CEO is now spearheading a real drive for transformation 0

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Ken

Eduard Coetzee admits that, during his playing days, he moved to France for nine years because he did not believe, as a White player, that he had a future in South African rugby. Now, as CEO of the Sharks, he is spearheading one of the most ambitious and successful beacons of transformation and inclusive culture in the game.

The former Sharks and SA A prop left Durban in 2005 and played for Bayonnais and Biarritz, before returning to Durban in 2012 and working in the financial sector. He was appointed as the Sharks’ commercial and marketing manager in 2014, chief operations officer in 2015 and became CEO in July 2019.

Coetzee’s business savvy – he has a doctorate in Inclusive Business Model Innovation – and vision certainly played a part in one of the biggest investments ever in South African sport when the MVM consortium became private equity partners of the Sharks.

But the Sharks don’t just have plenty of financial capital; there is also the sense that they have tremendous moral capital in the bank because of the nation-building project that is going so well at Kings Park.

“When we discussed transformation back in the day, all the heads – Black and White – used to drop in the team room,” Coetzee recalls. “It was seen as a punitive thing.

“Whites would feel they had no future in the game and agents played a big hand in that. I was in France for nine years because I believed I had no future here.

“But transformation, in terms of gender, race and mindsets, is a business priority. A lot has changed and ‘I See Colour’ is the cornerstone of our culture. I’m White, you’re Black and that’s cool. We can’t act as if colour doesn’t exist.

“It’s not about apologising for who I am but about being sympathetic to other people. And I had an upbringing that paralleled Steve Hofmeyr’s – Affies, Tuks, the Bulls,” Coetzee points out.

The 42-year-old knows, of course, that on-field success is what the Sharks will ultimately be measured on, however, and even there, ambitions are high.

“We have ambitions of being global competitors. We want to win the Heineken Champions Cup. Previously we were just trying to survive as South African franchises, we would build players up and then lose them.

“But we weren’t an unsuccessful franchise, we were happy enough. But MVM have brought an attitude of we want to try to be the best. They are thinking big.

“We want to invest in people and uplift the community. It’s not about turfing out our history but amplifying it and the global reach of what they believe is an undervalued team,” Coetzee says.

One of the notable gifts of the married father of three sons is the ability to see the potential in others.

“There are guys here who really come from nothing and when you discuss their previous life with them, you realise what that actually means.

“And then you throw them into a situation with lots of money and pressure and no support. That’s where our life coaching and educational development programmes come in.

“I’m still studying and I tell the players that if I have time to do it, then so do you. We have created a structure that gives them enough time to study, with the help of tutors.

“If they do want to go into business, we help them with seed capital through our business development office and our investors draw people of influence into the Sharks environment,” Coetzee points out.

Next time you’re in Durban, pop into the coffee shop at Kings Park, which is run by players, or the local chicken shop which the Sharks have invested in and which has 10 franchises in KZN and five others in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

It is all part of the Sharks’ policy of treating their players unbelievably well … and thereby getting the best out of them on the field and hopefully keeping them in Durban.

Stone has moved to the sea … but certainly not to retire 0

Posted on September 30, 2021 by Ken

Kevin Stone grew up in what is now called Gauteng but the popular 55-year-old golfer has now moved to the sea.

Certainly not to retire, but to become director of golf at the Mount Edgecombe Country Club Estate, which is hosting the Sunshine Tour’s prestigious Vodacom Origins of Golf Series this week.

It’s a challenging job looking after the two premier championship courses and all the members, plus this week’s tournament was sprung on Mount Edgecombe at late notice due to unforeseen circumstances with the original host, Durban Country Club.

But Stone still reckons he would rather be in his current job than playing golf.

“I stopped playing professional golf really in 1998 when I went into the club industry and just played part-time. And, honestly, I’m not that keen to race out there and play now. My wife Desiree is the CEO of both the Mount Edgecombe estate and country club, and initially I came and helped out when Micky Hough resigned. But then they asked me to stay and starting in December last year, I am now the director of golf.

“Normally we have six-to-nine months to prepare for a tournament, but when Desiree called me into her office last Friday I thought I was going to get fired! Instead she asked me if we can host the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series. Fortunately I like to keep the course to tour standard week in, week out, so the members can enjoy that sort of quality. We will maybe just speed up the greens a bit, they are normally between 9 and 9.5 and we’ll probably go up to 10.5 for the tournament. We expect some rain to slow it up as well, but if the wind gets up then the greens will be very tricky,” Stone said on Tuesday.

Dominated by the Mount Edgecombe Lake, the aptly-named Lakes Course is 24 years old, while the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series is being played on the 5885-metre The Woods, which dates back to 1935, although it was redesigned in 1992.

“The Woods has been inter-seeded with bent grass and the greens are getting better every year, it’s in good nick at the moment. The Lakes is also a very good course, I actually prefer it a bit. It’s a lot more challenging, tree-lined with lots of water. It’s a very old-school type of course.

“But on The Woods, the pros are going to need to drive it straight. On the par-fives they can get on easily in two because they all just bang it 300 yards these days. Watching them makes me feel like I’ve never played this course before … it’s nice to be young,” Stone laughed.

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