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Ken Borland



‘Moving Day’ not about building a lead for Homa but consolidation 0

Posted on November 11, 2023 by Ken

Max Homa of the USA plays his second shot on the 13th hole during the third round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player CC on Saturday.
(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

The third round of a golf tournament – colloquially known as ‘Moving Day’ – is often about building a healthy lead heading into the final round, but for Max Homa, Saturday at the Gary Player Country Club was all about consolidation and the world number eight has fought off numerous challengers to end the penultimate day of the Nedbank Golf Challenge with a one-stroke lead.

Beginning the third round tied for the lead with Matthieu Pavon, Homa dropped just one stroke on Saturday and that was the key to his pre-eminent position heading into the final round. What he described as a “squirrelly” start saw the American bogey the par-three fourth hole, but he immediately birdied the fifth to cut Pavon’s lead back to one shot.

The key moment of the day came on the par-five 10th as Homa holed his bunker shot for eagle. Another birdie for the 32-year-old on the next par-five, the 14th, ensured he would lead alone after Pavon dropped shots on 15 and 16.

Homa posted a three-under-par 69 on Saturday to finish on 13-under overall, with Pavon’s 70 leaving him on 12-under. Nicolai Hojgaard’s 69, containing three bogeys as well as six birdies, lifted him to 11-under-par with Thorbjorn Olesen, whose only bogey came on the 16th, as he also shot 69.

“I didn’t swing so well to start, it was all a bit scrappy, but I hit the ball really well for the last 10 holes, I just didn’t sink anything,” Homa said after his round. “It felt like I was hitting good shots but not capitalising, things weren’t going my way before that nice bunker shot on 10, that was a lovely boost.

“I gave myself a lot of looks today and the plan tomorrow is to make a few more putts. It’s a dream and an honour just to have the opportunity to win this tournament, which has a tremendous history. Every day we walk past the winners’ plaques at the ninth green, it’s an impressive list and I would love to add my name to that legacy. All I can do is put myself in the best position to do that,” Homa said.

Pavon was okay with his position after a boiling hot, gruelling day at Sun City, nestled like a kiln between the Pilanesberg mountains. Before his late bogeys on the 15th and 16th holes, the Frenchman had been four-under for his round, not bad going in the testing conditions with the wind also having picked up.

“It was nice to start well with three birdies in the first seven holes, but overall it was a real grind today. It was hard, the pins are in tricky places and it was all about managing your game. It was also a very long day – five-and-a-half hours, which is too long in that heat and intensity, you drain a lot of energy.

“It was good to walk away with two pars, that was a very solid finish. It’s always nice having won a few weeks ago [the Spanish Open on October 15], so my confidence is pretty high and my game feels good,” Pavon said.

The chances of a South African winner, for the first time since Branden Grace in 2017, seem to be drying up with Hennie du Plessis still the leading local, but on five-under, eight shots off the lead. Three birdies in the first five holes on Saturday were considerable hops up the leaderboard, but he then slumped back with five bogeys leaving him with a 74.

Dan Bradbury, whose rapid rise from nowhere to prominence is one of the stories of the season, had a day of astronomical ups and downs, a bogey at the last leaving him on 10-under-par in fifth place.

On the 195m, par-three foirth, he was inches away from claiming a hole-in-one, but he followed up that birdie with another one on the fifth. The Joburg Open winner went out in two-under 34 after a bogey on the par-four eighth and a birdie on the par-five ninth.

The back nine was an epic rollercoaster for the Englishman. He left his birdie putt on the par-five 11th just short and then bogeyed the par-three 12th. He missed another birdie opportunity on the par-fibe 14th with a terrible close-range miss, but them made a marvellous 25ft putt for par on 15, followed by a massive 34-footer for birdie on the 16th.

Like many others, he then found himself in trouble on the 18th, the toughest hole in the third round, when he missed the green right and chipped out of the rough, 17 feet past the flag, failing to make the par-putt.

Coetzee says there’s no magic recipe for winning golf, but he enjoyed more than a few ounces of inspiration 0

Posted on January 31, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee says there is no magic recipe for winning golf, but the 13-time champion on the Sunshine Tour enjoyed more than a few ounces of inspiration on Saturday as a bogey-free 67 carried him back to the top of the leaderboard after the penultimate round of the PGA Championship at the St Francis Links.

Two birdies on the front nine and three coming in, two of them back-to-back on the 12th and 13th holes, lifted Coetzee to 11-under-par for the tournament and he is one stroke clear of Rhys West, who shot a 68.

Second-round leader Casey Jarvis posted a 71 on Saturday and is on nine-under-par, together with Stefan Wears-Taylor (67), Jake Redman (68) and Hennie Otto (69).

“It wasn’t really my plan to not get any bogeys, I just wanted to play good golf,” Coetzee said. “This course has some teeth and you have to pick those parts where you can be aggressive and where you can’t be aggressive.

“I think I balanced that out quite well, I made pars on the tough holes and birdies on some of the easier holes. Being experienced is more about what you do than what you know.

“But it does help that I am more conservative on a course that I don’t know that well, I kind of stick to how the course wants me to play.

“I think only Tiger Woods really knew how to win, the rest of us are all learning as we go along. I’ve won a few tournaments, but there’s no pattern to it, no magic recipe,” Coetzee said.

Overnight leader Jarvis had two eagles on the front nine, on the par-five third and then holing out with his second on the par-four fifth hole, but after a double-bogey six on the par-four 15th he surrendered the lead to Coetzee.

There are also four golfers on seven-under-par who will be chasing after glory in the final round on Sunday – last week’s winner of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final Combrinck Smit (66), Luke Jerling (67), Peter Karmis (67) and Martin Vorster (71).

But after all the titles he has won, including the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at De Zalze in August, the 36-year-old Coetzee has clear aims for the final round.

“I will just be trying to make good decisions, try to play decent golf and be excited about playing under pressure,” Coetzee said.

Daily gym work has paid off for Fichardt 0

Posted on September 23, 2020 by Ken

So far Darren Fichardt’s daily gym work during Lockdown has paid off and now the 45-year-old order of merit leader is looking to sharpen up his short game as the Sunshine Tour’s Rise Up Series goes into its penultimate event, the Vodacom Championship Unlocked, at ERPM Golf Club in Boksburg from Wednesday.

Fichardt is on top of the order of merit after the first three tournaments thanks to his great consistency: after winning the Betway Championship at Killarney Country Club, the first tournament after Lockdown, he finished in a tie for sixth in the African Bank Championship at Glendower and then fourth in the Titleist Championship at Pretoria Country Club. That has given him earnings of R148 757.14, just over R2000 more than George Coetzee, who is not playing this week because he is campaigning – with great success – in Europe.

That leaves Danie van Tonder, on R120 650, as his chief challenger to win the Rise Up Series, but the likes of young Tristen Strydom and veterans Adilson da Silva, Ulrich van den Berg and Jaco Ahlers, all of whom have won more than R70 000, cannot be discounted either if they win in Boksburg.

“My golf has been pretty good so far, in the long Lockdown I was able to work on quite a few things I really wanted to, like getting fitter and stronger and that has paid off. Being on top of the order of merit, ahead of all the youngsters is exactly where you want to be, it’s always lekker. It’s also nice to have been able to play at home and sleep in my own bed for more than two weeks.

“It would mean a lot for me to win the order of merit, to win any of those is always awesome. To perform like I am, so consistently, is very satisfying. But I definitely need to sharpen up my putting and chipping, I’ve been working hard on that in this two-week break. I just feel I haven’t made enough putts and there have been soft bogeys when I have just missed the green but have not been able to get up-and-down,” Fichardt told The Citizen on Tuesday.

Although the 117-year-old ERPM Golf Club is one of South Africa’s top courses, Fichardt is yet to compete there as a professional, but he believes the eighth, ninth and 10th holes will be key to the outcome of the event. A water hazard makes for an intimidating tee-shot on the eighth and the 396-metre ninth features a long carry over the same large body of water for the approach shot, while the 10th is a short par-four of 342 yards and driveable as long as one is willing to take on the oak tree, as John Bland famously did in 1981 in scoring one of his remarkable 32 career holes-in-one.

“I’ve only played there as an amateur, never as a pro. It’s a pretty short course with really good greens. In the final round, those three holes around the turn could provide a big turnaround when you’re in the thick of things and in contention. But the fun of playing is back now for me and I’m really looking forward to teeing it up again,” Fichardt said.

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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

    If there’s a frustrating vacuum in your spiritual life and you fervently desire to serve the Lord but don’t know how you’re meant to do that, then start by loving others in his name.

     



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