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Ken Borland

Floyd’s game and mentality keep improving as she claims the lead 0

Posted on July 08, 2024 by Ken

KEMPTON PARK, Ekurhuleni – Young Kiera Floyd’s game and mentality seemingly improves with every event as she fired a wonderful five-under-par 67 on Thursday to claim the lead after the first round of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Absa Ladies Invitational at Serengeti Estates.

Floyd has produced back-to-back top-10 finishes in her last two tournaments and also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt before an 84 in the final round saw her slip down to a tie for 15th place. The 19-year-old is also playing at her home course at Serengeti and there is certainly a lot of expectation that the prodigy can notch up her breakthrough professional win this week.

She successfully managed that external pressure, and also composed herself brilliantly after an unfortunate double-bogey at the 122m par-three fifth hole, not dropping another shot as she finished with seven birdies in all. Three of those came in her first four holes, before her mishap on the first par-three, and then a birdie on the par-five eighth was followed by three more on the back nine.

“I know there is a lot of expectation on me this week and I know there are a lot of people who want me to do well here, but I put all that to the side. I just played like I had not played the course before, I started like it was a fresh round on a new course this morning,” Floyd said.

“And I was very happy with the way I played. The double-bogey was a bit unlucky because I hit my tee shot into a bunker where there was no sand, and then played a bit of ping-pong over the green.

“But I came back nicely and I am really happy with my performance. Off the tee and my putting were the best parts of my game, I sank a few nice ones, which definitely helps. It was not easy out there, but I gave myself a lot more opportunities to make birdie. But it is just the first round and I need to keep going,” Floyd said.

The 2022 SA Women’s Strokeplay champion is one stroke ahead of fellow South African Casandra Alexander, who provided the sort of birdie-birdie finish to her round that had the spectators recording the action on their cellular phones.

The 24-year-old Alexander’s 68 also included a double-bogey, at the par-five eighth, but she immediately pulled a stroke back by making a birdie at the par-three ninth. She was level-par at the turn, but birdies at the 11th and 15th holes, and then her two threes to finish saw Alexander soar up the leaderboard.

In a momentous day in this season’s Sunshine Ladies Tour, every place in the top-five is filled by a South African, breaking the overseas dominance that has been apparent in the previous four events.

Perennial winner Lee-Anne Pace, Tara Griebenow and Stacy Bregman all shot 70s on Thursday to share third place. Another South African, Nicole Garcia, was leading on four-under through 10 holes, but she struggled to a 39 coming home, finishing her round on the front nine, to join a dozen other golfers on level-par 72.

Coetzee seemingly cruises to a 67, but says it was a struggle 0

Posted on January 30, 2023 by Ken

ST FRANCIS BAY, Eastern Cape – George Coetzee shot a five-under-par 67 with just two bogeys to seemingly cruise into a share of the lead after the first round of the PGA Championship, but the multiple winner on both the Sunshine and DP World Tours said it had actually been a struggle on a typically testing day at the St Francis Links on Thursday.

Coetzee began his round with a bogey on the par-four 10th, but then went to the turn with four birdies. On the front nine, his only other drop came on the par-four fifth, with birdies on either side of it, and the 36-year-old completed his round with an excellent birdie on the par-four ninth.

Coetzee, who won the 2011 PGA Championship at Country Club Johannesburg after finishing runner-up the year before, is tied for the lead with Danie van Niekerk, the 34-year-old Lichtenburg golfer who produced a brilliant bogey-free round with three birdies on the front nine, after he also started on the 10th.

“It was definitely tricky out there and I’m happy with my score,” Coetzee said. “All-in-all, I’m happy just to be in the mix and to be in a good rhythm. I made a lot of putts on my last nine holes when it was really quite tricky, and that kept my scorecard together.

“But it was a hairy last bunch of holes into the wind,” Coetzee said.

The winner of a second consecutive Vodacom Origins of Golf Series De Zalze title when he last played in South Africa in August, Coetzee said that his two bogeys had come from a lack of familiarity with the seaside course.

“My two bogeys were basically down to a lack of knowledge of the course, taking the wrong club off the tee or playing to the wrong part of the green, like on my second on the 10th hole. Hopefully I learn quickly and make better decisions tomorrow,” Coetzee said.

The top-10 on the leaderboard at the end of the first round is filled with experienced or in-form golfers that will ensure Coetzee and Van Niekerk are kept on their toes.

Jake Roos and Hennie O’Kennedy are one shot behind on four-under with Casey Jarvis, JJ Senekal and Rhys West.

Hennie Otto, who was the runner-up in the PGA Championship in both 2002 and 2008, is with Stefan Wears-Taylor and Samuel Simpson on three-under.

The PGA Championship is South Africa’s second-oldest professional tournament and Otto would dearly love to add that title to his 2011 SA Open win at Serengeti Estate.

Rugby as dangerous as a behind-schedule minibus taxi 0

Posted on December 14, 2022 by Ken

Judging by some safety studies coming out of the UK, playing rugby is seemingly as dangerous as being a passenger in a minibus taxi that is behind schedule after the driver popped into the local shebeen.

There is no denying the alarming figures these studies are revealing in terms of brain injuries since the game went professional, and WorldRugby has been forced into making changes to the law in order to avoid the sort of lawsuits that have cost American Football hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements.

The most obvious of these changes has been the zero-tolerance approach to contact to the head. Unfortunately, in a contact game such as rugby and the highly-fluid tackle zone that features hundreds of kilograms of bone and flesh crashing into, or trying to avoid, each other, accidents are inevitable.

As former Springbok captain John Smit said this week: “You’re never going to make a contact sport 100% safe, there will always be an element of rIsk. And I have never met anyone who was forced to play rugby. I picked up the ball and ran into three guys out of my free will and I understood the risks.

“My shoulder is a mess now, I can’t turn my neck because of the spinal fusion I’ve had, but I’ve had more injuries from cycling! If I was given the choice now, I would still pick up the rugby ball like I did 30 years ago,” Smit said.

An unwanted side-effect of the law changes is that it has made it very taxing to watch rugby these days.

The constant TMO interventions, looking for the slightest head contact, coupled with the rank amateur standard of officiating we see far too often lately, leaves spectators and viewers angry, frustrated and often just plain bored.

I’m not arguing that TMOs should be done away with, they still have a vital role to play in ensuring crucial decisions are made correctly and in stamping out foul play, but their emphasis needs to shift.

So much time was wasted last weekend replaying a totally accidental head-to-head contact involving Bulls flyhalf Johan Goosen, which could easily have been a red card, ruining the game, given how some officials interpret these things.

But when there is obvious dangerous play, sometimes officialdom seems too lenient in dealing with it. Bundee Aki’s cleanout of Seabelo Senatla was clearly dangerous, putting the Stormers wing out of action for months. The Connacht centre has been given an eight-game ban, which seems about right. But it was only that much because of his previous record and the fact he angrily remonstrated with the referee after he was red-carded. The injury to the referee’s pride was obviously much more serious than Senatla’s in the view of the disciplinary tribunal.

And then there’s Darcy Swain, the Wallabies lock, who was only banned for six weeks for the assault on All Blacks centre Quinn Tupaea at a ruck, which must rank as one of the filthiest acts I’ve ever seen on a rugby field. Swain deliberately targeted the trapped leg of Tupaea, twisting it and destroying the New Zealander’s knee ligaments.

Tupaea will be out of action for nine months and is likely to miss the World Cup next year.

It is frustrating enough that there are so many stoppages in a game of rugby these days, with what is meant to be a 40-minute half almost always actually taking closer to an hour to finish, but then the officials so often get the decisions wrong anyway. Now there are also official water breaks scattered through the contest.

Fans are definitely losing interest.

The match between the Bulls and Connacht last weekend at Loftus Versfeld became exciting, on the scoreboard at least, in the second half. But in the main grandstand below the media centre, spectators passed their time cheering and encouraging a trio of spectators who were building a beer snake out of empty cups, making it tall enough to reach the tier above them.

Apparently it was a similar story the weekend before in the Springboks’ crucial Test against Argentina at Kings Park – spectators spent much of the time building paper planes and throwing them around.

Yes, WorldRugby needs to pass laws that make the game safer, but they also need to ensure their product is watchable.

Smith did not need to be beeped out once so preparations are going smoothly 0

Posted on October 17, 2022 by Ken

Despite technological difficulties meaning the video for their big name reveal of the new SA 20 could not be played, the commissioner of the T20 franchise league, Graeme Smith, did not need to be beeped out once at the announcement on Wednesday, suggesting preparations are going relatively smoothly for the basket that is seemingly holding all Cricket South Africa’s eggs in the coming years.

Smith is under enormous pressure to deliver a successful T20 franchise league at CSA’s third attempt, but it seems the former Proteas captain is bringing the same cool, unruffled head as he did at the crease. In terms of time-frames, it is a bit of a T20 dash, and now that the name – SA 20 – has been unveiled, the player auction in Cape Town on September 19 will be the next big landmark.

“It’s a simple name, but something we can really own and bring to life,” Smith said. “We’re very excited by what can be done with it and what we can create. One of our taglines is For Everyone.

“Hopefully it will bring people together and new fans to the game, give them the opportunity to love cricket. Hopefully the highly-competitive cricket will stand out.

“To see it come to life is very exciting and hopefully there will be full stadiums and great excitement. We’ve had very tight timelines, just five months to get the league going, so we’ve had to be agile,” Smith said.

While there has been some debate over how star players like Rashid Khan (BBL), Moeen Ali (UAE) and Liam Livingstone (BBL) are going to meet their commitments to both the SA 20 and the other leagues they have signed for over the festive season, Smith said he is pleased with the players available for his league.

“We’ve attracted some high-quality players. Our league is South African focused – 60-70 of them playing on a global platform – but we do have extensive overseas interest, an immense number of players have registered for the auction.

“The Big Bash League will have a different structure this season and they’ve allowed players to play in Australia for a portion of the tournament. So from early January, those Big Bash players who have signed for the South African league will be fully available.

“There are a few players who have also signed for the Emirates league. I was in the UAE last week and met with the league and we’ve agreed a way to handle it – we’ve allowed the players to feel comfortable to choose where they play. There needs to be a way we both co-exist,” Smith said.

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    Mark 7:8 – “You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”

    Our foundation must be absolute surrender, devotion and obedience to God, rising from pure love for him. Jesus Christ must be central in all things and his will must take precedence over the will of people, regardless of how well-meaning they may be.

    Surrender yourself unconditionally to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then you will be able to identify what is of man with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Then you will be able to serve – in love! – according to God’s will.

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