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Ken Borland

Kreuzer able to make winning birdie putt 2nd time round 0

Posted on May 13, 2024 by Ken

Helen Kreuzer was able to make the 10ft putt for birdie on the first playoff hole that she had missed shortly before in regulation play on the par-five 18th, giving the German her first professional title as she won the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge at the Blue Valley Golf Estate on Friday.

Kreuzer reached the 72nd hole on 12-under-par, back-to-back threes on the par-four 16th and 17th holes seeing her catch up with Tina Mazarino at the top of the leaderboard. But while the missed putt forced her to settle for par and a playoff with the Norwegian, Kreuzer was then able to take advantage of the wide fairways at the Gary Player design, and went for the green in two after a great drive, which would have pleased him.

“I hit a really good drive on the first playoff hole on 18 and decided to go for it with a three-wood. I was just off the green and I managed to get up-and-down, sinking the putt I missed for birdie during my round,” Kreuzer explained afterwards.

“It’s my first professional win so I feel amazing, the only other thing that comes close is maybe winning the national championship at college with Lynn University.”

With Mazarino producing a brilliant round of 65 to overtake those who had set the pace after the first two rounds, Kreuzer had to play at her best to catch the 23-year-old.

Kreuzer was superb on the front nine, playing in the final group with leader Ellen Hutchinson-Kay, going out in just 30 strokes. She began her round birdie-par-eagle and further birdies on the fifth, eighth and ninth holes saw her grab the lead.

But she then suffered a double setback when she bogeyed the par-four 10th and 11th holes.

“I was really on top of my game, hitting the ball close and my putter was hot. Ellen also played really well on the front nine, and it was good to be in the final group with her because that kept me going and I always felt I needed a few more birdies to get ahead of her.

“But then on 10 there was a very tough pin, I hit my approach a little long and bogey was not the end of the world there. And then on 11 a three-foot par putt just lipped out. You then have to tell yourself to stay in the moment and keep playing,” Kreuzer said.

The 25-year-old from Frankfurt certainly showed her mettle with that late pair of birdies.

“I was really excited about playing in the final group and keen to see what the day would bring. It was a great group, we had a lot of fun and all enjoyed ourselves, just taking it shot-by-shot. I was very pleased to pull through for the win. It was a big achievement, and now being able to play in the two Ladies European Tour co-sanctioned events on the Sunshine Tour is what I came for,” Kreuzer said.

While Hutchinson-Kay reached the turn on 11-under, she struggled on the back nine with bogeys on the 11th and 14th holes leaving her in third place.

Another German, Verena Gimmy, made a late charge up the leaderboard with a scintillating 64 to finish in a tie for fourth on eight-under-par with compatriot Carolin Kauffmann (69) and leading South African Kiera Floyd (68).

Pretoria Country Club’s Danielle du Toit also had an excellent final day, shooting a 66 to share seventh place on seven-under with Romy Meekers (69) and Ariane Klotz (72), who was second going into the last round.

While Korb puts finishing touches to brilliant winning 63, Strydom feels cruel side of golf 0

Posted on December 02, 2022 by Ken

CAPE ST FRANCIS, Eastern Cape – Golf can be a terribly cruel game at times and while leader Ockie Strydom was busy racking up a quadruple-bogey eight at the par-four 11th hole, Ruan Korb was putting the finishing touches to his brilliant round of 63 by sinking yet another birdie putt on the final hole of the Vodacom Origins of Golf St Francis Links tournament on Saturday.

Korb’s third successive birdie, to go with two-in-a-row on the 12th and 13th holes, saw him go an astonishing nine-under-par in the final round, leaving him on 13-under-par for the tournament.

Strydom had been on 15-under before the awful shock of his snowman on the 11th, and although he did well to not totally disintegrate, he could only par his way through to the close, settling for a level-par 72 after being four-under at the turn.

That left the 37-year-old in second place on 11-under, two behind Korb. Scottish veteran Doug McGuigan also challenged for the title, but bogeyed the last two holes when pushing for birdies to tie Korb, the 52-year-old closing with a 71 that left him on nine-under and in third place for the tournament.

The 28-year-old Korb admitted that it was just one of those idyllic days when every putt he looked at, he seemed to sink.

“I really enjoyed myself out there today, the weather was better and my putting was definitely the main reason for my win, every putt just seemed to find the bottom of the cup,” Korb said.

“My putting was certainly much better than when I finished second in the SunBet Challenge Time Square in August.”

The Silver Lakes golfer, who had begun the final round seven shots off the pace, had picked up decent momentum on the front nine with three birdies and a bogey in his first four holes, but he really began pushing for the title with a brilliant run that saw him eagle the par-five sixth and then pick up shots at the next two holes.

He was now 10-under for the tournament and in striking distance, but his charge was reversed as he had a 15-minute delay at the ninth tee while the group in front searched for balls. Korb lost concentration and bogeyed both nine and 10.

“I said before the round that if I could get to 14-under then I would have a chance, but waiting on the ninth was a bit of a momentum-breaker,” Korb said.

“But after those two bogeys I just tried to get calm and said to my caddie that we have to do something now otherwise the win is going to get away from us.”

Knowing he had to be positive, Korb birdied both the par-four 12th and the par-five 13th into the westerly wind, and then, with holes 16 and 17 heading in the opposite direction, he took advantage with two more birdies.

The three on the par-four 18th was the icing on the cake for his second Sunshine Tour victory, his first coming at the Time Square Casino Challenge at Wingate Park Country Club in 2020.

“It’s a big confidence-booster to win at this time of year, with the big summer events coming up,” Korb said.

Venter’s excellent day with the putter leads him to maiden Sunshine Tour title 0

Posted on June 27, 2022 by Ken

HARARE, Zimbabwe – An excellent day with the putter saw Albert Venter to a superb final-round 66 and a playoff for the FBC Zimbabwe Open at Royal Harare Golf Club, with the 26-year-old then sinking a 16-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to claim his maiden Sunshine Tour title on Sunday.

Venter had to hold off Stefan Wears-Taylor, who also shot 66 in the final round, and Louis Albertse (67) in the playoff after the trio all finished the R2 million tournament on 10-under-par.

They all parred the 18th in the first playoff hole, but on their next attempt, Venter spun a sand-wedge from the fairway back to 16 feet from the pin and then nailed the birdie putt, with Albertse and Wears-Taylor unable to make their shorter putts.

Venter’s success with the putter was unexpected because the Silver Lakes golfer struggled with the short stick in the third round.

“I knew I needed to just keep grinding today, follow my processes, and my goal was to just get in contention on the back nine,” Venter, who began the final round five shots off the lead, said.

“I was playing with the American, Dan Erickson, and he was off to a flyer – six-under after seven holes. So he was the guy to catch and I just tried to stay in touching distance of him.

“Then I caught fire on the back nine and I just kept following my processes, just keeping the ball in play, hit the greens and make the putts.

“Yesterday [Saturday] was a really bad putting day – 31 putts – so last night I spent an hour or two on the green and I found something. The putter paid off today with the prize,” Venter said.

Venter finished runner-up (his best finish on tour) in last September’s Sunshine Tour Invitational at Centurion Country Club, but two missed cuts in October probably cost him a top-50 finish in the final 2021/22 order of merit.

His victory on Sunday means none of that matters now and he said his big breakthrough felt surreal.

“At the moment, it’s still kind of surreal. To get to this professional level is hard enough, but then to win is a whole another level.

“It’s about belief and I can only thank my supporters, my coaching staff and family, who felt I was good enough. I would not be in this position without them,” Venter said.

Erickson was still in the lead when he birdied the par-three 15th, which Venter bogeyed, but the American was knocked out of contention by a bogey-bogey finish.

Wears-Taylor birdied 16 and 17 to claim the outright lead, but then bogeyed the last to force him into a playoff, with Albertse staying alive as he birdied 18.

Venter’s round was built around three successive birdies from the seventh hole, and he then burnt up the back nine with a run of four straight birdies from the 11th hole. Despite dropping a shot at 15, he stuck around to the bitter end.

Overnight leader Luca Filippi faded into seventh position after shooting a 75, while Louis de Jager and Jaco Ahlers joined Erickson in fourth place, two shots behind, after they both made 70s on Sunday.

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.

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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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