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Ken Borland



Tip from friend & challenger Bradley helps Van Niekerk into the lead 0

Posted on November 01, 2022 by Ken

SOUTHBROOM, KwaZulu-Natal – A tip from his friend and close challenger Sean Bradley has seen Danie van Niekerk take a one-shot lead into the final round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series San Lameer event on Friday, the Lichtenburg golfer taking an 11-under-par total into the weekend.

Van Niekerk shot a six-under-par 66 on Friday, the joint best round of the day, to go with his five-under 67 on the opening day, in a remarkable turnaround in form. The 34-year-old has missed his last three cuts, making it eight missed paydays in total this season.

“I felt last week that I played very poorly but my friend Sean Bradley helped me a lot on Monday and Tuesday this week,” Van Niekerk said. “So now I’m just hitting my small fade again and I’ve stopped trying to hit the ball both ways.

“San Lameer Country Club does suit me because I don’t really hit it long but I just focus on keeping the ball in play, but the big thing is I found my swing again.

“I started quite slowly today with four pars, but then I picked it up with four birdies in a row from the fifth. I’m very happy with the way I played, although I got a bit nervous on the last couple of holes and bogeyed the last.

“It’s the first time I’m leading a Sunshine Tour event and it feels good. I’m pretty excited about the final round and I will have the exact same game-plan: Just try and keep it in play and make some putts,” Van Niekerk said.

Wynand Dingle shared the overnight lead on six-under-par and he roared to nine-under early in the second round by birdieing three of his first four holes, having teed off on the 10th. He suffered the frustration of dropping a shot at the par-five 17th, but three more birdies on the front nine saw climb to 11-under. But then there was more frustration with a bogey on the par-three ninth hole, his last.

The 38-year-old Dingle goes into the final round just a shot off Van Niekerk’s lead and has been rampant in terms of consistency this season – he has made eight successive cuts now and has seven top-20 finishes in 11 events. His hopes of a maiden Sunshine Tour win have so far been thwarted, but he will be focused on stopping that on Saturday.

Bradley is in a tie for third, two shots back on nine-under, with Jaco Prinsloo, who raced up the leaderboard with a 67 on Friday.

Bradley’s 69 was a continuation of the good form he showed in finishing third in the Gary and Vivienne Player Challenge last weekend at Selborne Park Golf Club, and the 66 he shot in the first round at San Lameer.

Of the other golfers who shared the first-round lead, Ockie Strydom endured a disappointing day with just two birdies and three bogeys seeing him slip down into a tie for 12th on five-under; a double-bogey on the par-three 16th saw Herman Loubser also shoot a 73 to lie five-under, and Doug McGuigan also posted a 73 to be in that tie.

But the biggest exasperation of all was Matthew Spacey’s as he crashed to a five-over 77 and finished on one-under to miss the cut by a stroke. Double-bogeys on the fourth and seventh holes were his downfall.

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.

Six golfers lead heading into Tshwane Open final round 0

Posted on January 01, 2016 by Ken

Six golfers put themselves at the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, sharing a one-shot lead as the Tshwane Open enters what will be a thrilling final round at Pretoria Country Club on Sunday.

South Africans Wallie Coetsee, George Coetzee and Trevor Fisher Junior, as well as Scotland’s Craig Lee, Englishman David Horsey and Spaniard Adrian Otaegui, are all on nine-under-par, one stroke ahead of locals Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen.

Lee, looking to claim his first European Tour title after some close misses in the past, fired a four-under-par 66 on Saturday to vault up the leaderboard, having started the day tied for 13th place.

Coetsee and Coetzee, both proud boereseuns, shot two-under-par 68s to claim a share of the lead, while Fisher Junior, looking for back-to-back European Tour titles after last weekend’s breakthrough win at the Africa Open, and Horsey both posted 69s.

Otaegui, who blazed to a 62 in the second round to claim a two-shot lead, had the least impressive round of the half-dozen leaders, battling to a two-over-par 72.

The 22-year-old was one-under for the round as he reached the ninth hole, but three bogeys in five holes followed.

“I played pretty well until the ninth. I missed the tee-shot on the left and had the wrong strategy and tried to go for the green. Then I made another couple of bogeys after that, but I’m happy and made a few good putts. I’m trying to keep the rhythm for better tee shots tomorrow.

“The fairways were a bit harder and the ball flew a bit longer. I played okay and I’m pretty confident for tomorrow,” Otaegui said.

The Pretoria Country Club faithful will certainly be behind Coetzee, a long-time member, and the one-time European Tour winner said the changes to his game that he has struggled to bed down over the last year are starting to produce the goods.

“Every day it gets a bit closer to what I want and today was the first time in a year I can say it was pure ball-striking. It’s nice to get the game gelling properly and local knowledge does help in terms of knowing exactly what to expect when I’m in trouble, but it’s not going to get me over the line,” Coetzee said.

The fairytale winner, however, would be Coetsee, the journeyman who is in his 23rd year as a Sunshine Tour pro and has just two titles to show for it. But since earning his Asian Tour card in a gruelling qualifying school in Thailand in January, the 42-year-old has gone on an astonishing run of form that has seen him finish tied second in the Joburg Open and tied-45th in the Africa Open, the R1.1 million he has earned in the last two weeks making up 26% of his career winnings!

“I’ve got my Sunshine Tour card, my Asian Tour card and now it’s time for the European Tour card. I’m hitting the ball so well and I love the pressure, it’s lekker. I took a lot out of leading the Joburg Open in the final round and finishing second. When something bad like that happens, you think it’s terrible at the time, but in the end it’s the best thing because you learn from your mistakes. But hopefully I don’t learn anything tomorrow!” the genial Coetsee joked.

The marketing gurus have come up with the slogan “It’s more than just golf!” for the Tshwane Open, and Fisher Junior can attest to that as his more relaxed attitude on the course, after his father succumbed to cancer two years ago, has seen the father of two gain perspective and take pains not to define himself through his golf.

The result has been a life-changing win at East London Golf Club and the possibility of another lucrative pay-day in Pretoria.

The likeable Modderfontein golfer is adept at rebounding from tough times and, after four bogeys in five holes from the third, he claimed back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth holes, and three more on the back nine to join the leaders.

“It was tough today. You can see from the scores that no one moved today. If it’s gusty like this then you have to grind. The wind was all over the show. I think it was the windiest day here so far. It swirls so much that you don’t know what you’re doing with the yardages and the greens are quite firm, so it was tough to up-and-down.

“But I’m very happy with how I finished. If you said to me after six holes that I would finish with a one-under 69, I would have taken it. I started badly, but my swing felt good. I was a bit unlucky on a few holes and the putter was saving me,” Fisher Junior said.

Horsey, who shared the first-round lead with Morten Orum Madsen, who is one of a trio of European golfers on seven-under with Raphael Jacquelin and Edoardo Molinari, also managed to avoid the big numbers on a day when he struggled to get close to the flags, thanks in part to the tricky, shifting breeze at Pretoria Country Club.

“I didn’t give myself really good chances for birdie and struggled a bit with distance-control. It was difficult to get it close and that makes it hard to make birdie. All things considered it was a decent score and I’m reasonably pleased with how I am playing. The wind has been tricky for the last three days. It seems to pick up and drop, which made choosing the right club very difficult,” Horsey said.

The chase for the R2.9 million first prize is not limited to the top 11 golfers on seven-under or better though; South Africans Tjaart van der Walt, Justin Walters and Dean Burmester, and Sweden’s Mikael Lundberg, are all on six-under, just three shots off the pace.

http://citizen.co.za/344166/six-golfers-top-at-tshwane-open/

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