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Ken Borland



SA pros eager to grab silverware after overseas conquest 0

Posted on May 07, 2024 by Ken

CENTURION, Gauteng – South Africa’s Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals are eager to grab the silverware after the overseas contingent’s conquest of the opening two tournaments this season, when the third event, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge, gets underway at Blue Valley Golf Estate from Wednesday.

Scotland’s Kylie Henry opened the season with victory in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, and India’s Tvesa Malik then triumphed at the SuperSport Ladies Challenge presented by Sun International at the Lost City.

Lejan Lewthwaite will lead the local challenge as the highest-ranked South African in the order of merit playing in the R250 000 tournament, currently in 16th position.

“It’s only a matter of time, I believe, before we have a South African winner this season. There are a lot of really good local golfers and this is only the third event, so we are still getting into the season,” Lewthwaite said.

“I’m definitely confident in the talent we have and any one of us can win this week. But there are a lot of European golfers over in South Africa at the moment, a lot of the top players in the order of merit will be playing, so it is still a very strong field. We will have to keep our games on point.”

Both Henry, who leads the order of merit, and Malik will be teeing it up on the Gary Player design, while Romy Meekers, Lauren Taylor, Ana Dawson and Helen Kreuzer are all in the top-10 of the standings and have entered this week.

Lewthwaite finished 20th at both Fancourt and Lost City and her autopsy of her performance so far makes her feel that a strong performance is around the corner.

“I’m hitting the ball quite well but things have just not gone my way yet. That can be the difference between finishing 20th or top-10 and even contending, you need things to fall your way.

“But the game is there and I just need to build some momentum and I’ll be on my way. I enjoy Blue Valley, it’s a very nice course and should be in good condition. It’s pretty open off the tees and I just want to play to my own strengths, which is a sharp short game. I read the greens well so I’ll be pretty confident around Blue Valley,” Lewthwaite said.

‘We are finding it harder to win at home’ – Pace 0

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Ken

FANCOURT (Western Cape), 14 February 2024 – “It’s nice to see the overseas support of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, it has grown a lot, but we are now finding it harder to win at home,” the prolific Lee-Anne Pace said with a chuckle on the eve of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am that kicks off the new season at Fancourt from Thursday.

Played on the great Montague and Outeniqua courses at Fancourt, the tournament has a R2.5 million prize fund which 44 professionals are fighting over. It is the second year in which the ladies will play alongside the men’s event being held at the same time, on the same courses.

Of the 44-strong field, 28 are from overseas, highlighting the strength of the nine-event Sunshine Ladies Tour and the value it offers women professionals.

“There’s a really strong overseas contingent coming to play and the fields on the Sunshine Ladies Tour seem to get stronger every week,” Pace, a 14-tme winner, said.

“It’s a really good field this week and I think the scores are going to be quite a lot lower than last year. The courses are quite a bit softer than usual, and on the shorter side, so we can attack a little bit more. I think there are going to be a lot of birdies and as always, it’s going to come down to putting.”

There is an important pro-am aspect to the event, with 44 amateurs each playing with a pro in the team event. Pace, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at nearby George Golf Club in 2014, said the format will provide a fun side for the professionals.

“Nowadays we are so used to playing in pro-ams with all the Aramco events on the Ladies European Tour. So it will be quite a lot of fun to get to know some of the top women in business. I’ve made some really good friends from playing in pro-ams.”

Even though it is the start of the South African season, Pace is one of the players to bring some form into the event, having finished in a tie for 11th at last weekend’s Kenya Ladies Open, the first event of the new Ladies European Tour season. The 42-year-old shot a brilliant 68 in the final round to ensure she comes to Fancourt with some confidence.

“I felt really good on the last day and played really nicely. That’s after feeling really sick on the first day. So I feel I do have a bit of form on my side,” Pace said.

Compatriot Cara Gorlei also finished in the tie for 11th, and was leading the tournament before a 77 in the third round pushed her down the leaderboard.

France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, a two-time LET winner, is among the stronger foreign contenders, along with Germany’s Carolin Kauffmann, who finished fifth in last year’s Dimension Data Pro-Am and Englishwoman Lauren Taylor, who has two top-10 finishes in this event.

Former champions from South Africa in Stacey Bregman and Lejan Lewthwaite are also in the field.

Jake critical of budgetary imbalances & lucrative sale of SA players overseas 0

Posted on May 04, 2023 by Ken

Bulls coach Jake White was critical on Tuesday of the sale of South African rugby players for lucrative amounts to overseas clubs, pointing out that it is budgetary imbalances that have forced him to send a largely second-string outfit to do battle against the Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park in their second Champions Cup match.

White had been expected to bring back his big guns for the trip to south-west England, especially after his back-up players did such a superb job in beating Lyon at Loftus Versfeld last weekend. But the fact that the Bulls have to travel to Cape Town next week for a crucial United Rugby Championship clash with the Stormers, and it is a short week because they will only arrive back on Monday for a Friday night game, has led the coach to stick with the bulk of the side from last week.

“We’re playing against teams who have a budget of R180 million compared to our R70 million. The list goes on-and-on of Saffers doing really well overseas and if we could find ways of bringing them into our regional squads then we would be fighting a gunfight with a gun,” White said on Tuesday.

“So I will choose the same sort of team as last week, because we have to travel back on economy class and then go to Cape Town to play the Stormers next Friday night. We will only arrive back midday Monday.

“I’m not trying to take anything away from an Exeter side we respect, but we have to make sure we’re at our best against the Stormers. I would like to do well in both competitions, but I am a realist.

“There’s no way we can beat Exeter away and then the Stormers away in less than a full week. We can only use the resources we have, if we were playing the Stormers in a different week then I would definitely take other guys,” White said.

Sending a second-string outfit to Exeter is perhaps a shrewd move because it means there is no pressure on the Bulls, and the home side will know any slip-up will echo through the league and leave them possibly needing to beat White’s men at Loftus Versfeld in mid-January, which will be a tough ask.

The Stormers are also under pressure to win at home this weekend, due to their loss in France, meaning their leading Springboks might have to front up twice in seven days.

“Exeter will be a big test for us, they’re a great team full of internationals, but they will also know that they have to get it right, there’s no way they’ll be thinking it will be an easy outing,” White said.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us, in front of a massive crowd, to experience again what it’s like in a pressure situation, that’s where we’ll grow as a group.

“I expect the team to just give it a fair crack, give it as good a go as we can. You often talk about it ‘not getting tougher than this’, but this time it genuinely can’t get tougher.

“But I expect us to roll up our sleeves and embrace the fact that it is tough, give it as good a shot as we can. Every time this group has been challenged, they have accepted it, and often achieved it,” White said.

Bulls Squad:Dylan Smith, Bismarck du Plessis, Sebastian Lombard, Reinhardt Ludwig, Janko Swanepoel, Nizaam Carr, Muller Uys, WJ Steenkamp, Bernard van der Linde, Morne Steyn, Stravino Jacobs, Carlton Bannies, Stedman Gans, Sibongile Novuka, Lizo Gqoboka, Joe van Zyl, Jacques van Rooyen, Merwe Olivier, Cameron Hanekom, Phumzile Maqondwana, Tielman Nieuwoudt, Keagan Johannes, Chris Smit, Niel le Roux, Kabelo Mokoena, Juan Mostert, Wandisile Simelane, Tian Lange.

Sharks will bring pent-up energy after being in home port following three-week tour 0

Posted on January 16, 2023 by Ken

The Sharks, back in home port in Durban after meeting expectations on their three-week overseas tour, will be bringing a lot of pent-up energy to Loftus Versfeld on Sunday when they tackle the Bulls in a massive United Rugby Championship derby.

Victories on the road against Zebre and the Dragons was followed by a superb attacking showing against Leinster, who only pulled away in the final quarter in Dublin. With the Springboks returning to action, the Sharks exploded in the final half-hour of their homecoming match against the Glasgow Warriors, and there was a real sense of momentum building for their big clash with Ulster last weekend.

And then the match was controversially postponed the day before it was scheduled to happen. The one positive to offset the great disappointment felt at Kings Park is that an even fresher, hungrier Sharks side will now travel to Pretoria this weekend.

“It was quite shocking news to get on the Friday,” prop Ntuthuko Mchunu said on Wednesday. “We had had a really good week of preparation coming off a win, we were looking forward to the festivities of the day.

“And of course we were really looking forward to playing the game, having prepped so well and brushed up on a few things. But at least this week it means we are really fresh and looking forward again.

“It’s always a big game up there, two South African sides going at each other. It’s never easy at Loftus and both teams will front up. We have prepared well for a physical battle at set-piece.

“The Bulls have really good players, but what happened there in the past is past, we’re now looking forward to the future. It’s always a great game against the Bulls,” Mchunu said.

The Sharks will be without half-a-dozen of their frontline Springboks, but Mchunu says there is a real unity within the group remaining behind, following their achievements on the fields of Europe and the fun they had doing some urban sightseeing.

“The one thing the Sharks have done is grow the group. We prepared really well together in pre-season when the Springboks were away, and this team has grown.

“We showed a lot of fight and character against Leinster, it was an awesome tour that really grew us. The combinations worked well together and we want to carry that spirit through to this weekend,” Mchunu said.

The Bulls, meanwhile, are perhaps retreating into one of their laagers as they have been playing hard to get with the Fourth Estate from the start of the week.

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    Philemon 1:7 – “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

    “Every disciple of Jesus has a capacity for love. The most effective way to serve the Master is to share his love with others. Love can comfort, save the lost, and offer hope to those who need it. It can break down barriers, build bridges, establish relationships and heal wounds.” – A Shelter From The Storm, Solly Ozrovech

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