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Ken Borland

Floyd surely not far from breakthrough victory given recent form 0

Posted on July 01, 2024 by Ken

Talented 19-year-old golfer Kiera Floyd is surely not far from her breakthrough Sunshine Ladies Tour victory given her recent form, and this week’s Absa Ladies Invitational being played at her home course of Serengeti Estates may just give her that extra edge that leads her to her first professional title.

Floyd has finished in the top-10 of her last two events, the Fidelity ADT Ladies Challenge and the Standard Bank Ladies Open, while she also contended strongly in the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, before shooting 84 in the final round to finish tied-15th.

And the good news for her is that the Serengeti layout is just her cup of tea. Floyd’s length and accuracy off the tee should see her prosper on the 5688m course.

“I’ve been playing Serengeti for many years and I’m really looking forward to this tournament. Serengeti has a lot of signature holes, which can make it a make-or-break situation. Just none of the holes are the same, there’s always something different thrown at you and usually a bunker in the way too,” Floyd says.

“It’s not a very open course, but it all depends on where you play it off the tee. It’s definitely not the same as the other courses we’ve played this season, for me it is special, I really like the layout and it has its own way of playing it.

“I’m feeling really confident, I’m playing really nicely at the moment. The course is a bit longer, which suits me because I am a long hitter. But I still have to play well, I can’t take things for granted just because it is my home course,” Floyd says.

The second-year pro has always quickly conquered the different levels of the game, and her maiden Sunshine Ladies Tour win cannot be far away judging by her previous achievements. Floyd won the Benoni Country Club Ladies Championship aged nine, she finished third in the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Jabra Classic aged 14, and she won the South African Women’s Strokeplay Championship in 2022 before turning professional at the beginning of last year. She has already racked up six top-10 finishes on tour.

But on a course with so many different layers of difficulty, she has identified staying calm during the inevitable tough times as the key element of her game that needs to improve for her to make that next step into the winner’s circle as a professional.

“I’ve struggled a bit in the past events with keeping my head up if I make a bogey or a hole does not go well. I need to be more consistent, put both nines together. You need that consistency so if you start on a roll then you can keep it going. I need to stay patient to get the ‘W’, just work my way through the course and whatever happens, happens,” Floyd said.

Her contemporary Gabrielle Venter won the Standard Bank Ladies Open at Royal Cape Golf Club three weeks ago, giving Floyd a lot of confidence she can make it back-to-back South African winners when the Absa Ladies Invitational gets underway at Serengeti on Thursday.

But there will be other winners providing a stiff challenge in the R1.2 million event as well, such as seasoned champion Lee-Anne Pace, Germany’s Helen Kreuzer and India’s Tvesa Malik, already winners on tour this season, as well as strong South African challengers such as Stacy Bregman, Nicole Garcia and Cara Gorlei, and the consistent Alexandra Swayne from the U.S. Virgin Islands, who has not finished outside the top-14 yet this campaign.

Joburg-born Naidoo claims maiden title down by the seaside 0

Posted on January 09, 2023 by Ken

BALLITO, KwaZulu-Natal – Johannesburg-born Steyn City representative Dylan Naidoo is acknowledged as one of the most talented young golfers in the country and the 24-year-old claimed his maiden Sunshine Tour title on Friday down by the seaside as he won the SunBet Challenge hosted by Sun Sibaya at Umhlali Country Club by two shots.

For all his talent, Naidoo said the key to his breakthrough title, having picked up four previous top-10 finishes on the Sunshine Tour, was becoming a creature of habit out on the golf course, taking comfort from a set process.

“The most important thing is that I felt I had the win coming, I’ve been playing very well for the last few weeks. It’s the culmination of having really good processes and discipline out on the course.

“So the best part is that it does not feel like a lightning bolt came down from the sky and I got lucky and won. I feel like I can replicate this because I have a really good process. But of course we will have to wait and see what happens because you never know in golf.”

Naidoo began the final round two shots off the lead and settled himself with a wonderful front nine that was bogey-free and featured back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes. But he was still a couple of shots behind Luke Brown until a brilliant eagle on the 489m par-five 10th saw the former Big Easy Tour golfer vault strongly into contention.

Naidoo then targeted the short par-fours on the back nine, picking up birdies on three of them, and dropping a shot on the 15th, which he described as “a good bogey”.

A pair of birdies on 16 and 17 beat back the tentacles of the chasing golfers trying to reach him at the top of the leaderboard.

“My goal was just to turn under-par because I had not done it the whole week, so I got that job done on two-under, I played really solid,” Naidoo recalled.

“We had 209 to the flag on 10, but we wanted to pitch it well short because the greens were really starting to firm up. It was a little downwind and my seven-iron pitched and bounced exactly where it needed to and I sank the eight-foot putt for eagle.

“There are so many opportunities on the back nine and good tee shots set me up. I hit really good iron shots too, we were super-consistent with where we wanted to hit them and I putted really well. I sank a 25-footer on 17 which was not expected because it’s a very uphill putt, tricky just to get to the hole,” Naidoo said.

Once the job was done with a four-under 67 leading him to six-under-par for the tournament, he was grateful for all the supporting cast to his biggest win yet in his fledgling golf career.

“It’s taken thousands of hours of hard work and I could not have done it without the team around me – my sponsors, parents and loved ones – and everyone who helped along the journey. I’m just so ecstatic,” Naidoo said.

Brown fell away on the back nine as he dropped three shots by the 15th hole, finishing on four-under and in a four-way tie for second place with Jaco Prinsloo, amateur Jonathan Broomhead and Ian Snyman.

Prinsloo produced a top-class round of 68 that included two birdies and an eagle on the par-four ninth.

SA Strokeplay champion Broomhead, playing in just his second Sunshine Tour event, also shone with marvellous 69.

Overnight leader Richard Joubert went through hell on the front nine with two double-bogies and then three more bogeys on the back nine, finishing on one-under, in a tie for ninth.

So what to do about Markram? 0

Posted on March 31, 2022 by Ken

So what to do about Aiden Markram remains the big question for the Proteas to sort out despite the talented batsman’s return to form (almost) in scoring 42 in the first innings of the second Test against New Zealand in Christchurch.

While 42 is a big enough score to generally get one’s name in the scores in brief of leading cricket publications, it is also the sort of so-so score that does not really answer any questions, especially when it comes after your 10 previous innings have only realised 97 runs.

Markram should get one more innings at the Hagley Oval, one last chance to ram home his case, but then the Proteas return to South Africa and will begin preparations for their series against Bangladesh, which includes two Tests in April.

Keegan Petersen should be available again after his positive Covid test stopped him travelling, and he was man of the series against India so he should come straight back into the team. And Sarel Erwee made his mark in just his second Test by scoring a great century on the first day of the second Test, so he surely can’t be dropped.

Of course, if Markram goes on to score big runs in the second innings then it could become very awkward for the selectors. Or the Proteas could go back to the far-from-ideal days when they had seven batsmen and just four bowlers.

Of course having to fit too many batsmen into too few places is a very nice problem to have for any team.

After having exploded on to the international stage with 1000 runs in his first 10 Tests in 2017/18, including two centuries against Australia, very few would have predicted that by 2022 Markram would be at a crossroads in his Test career, playing for his future.

But having struggled against spin on the subcontinent, scoring just 84 runs in eight innings in India and Sri Lanka, seam bowlers now seem to have the wood on Markram as well.

Part of the problem would seem to be that the 27-year-old is a victim of his own tremendous talent. He is such a wonderful stroke-player, but one gets the impression sometimes that he is a bit too keen to feel bat on ball.

That was certainly the case in the first innings of the second Test. Having fought hard to get in on a Hagley Oval pitch that was still providing the pacemen with some assistance, Markram was looking set for the type of big score that he is desperate to get behind his name as he went from 17 off 69 deliveries shortly after tea to 42 off 103 balls.

The boundaries were coming and Markram looked to be in firm control of proceedings. And then he contrived to edge a wide half-volley from Neil Wagner into the slips.

New Zealand then managed to get through Erwee’s defences in the next over, but the left-hander’s 108 had brought some much-needed solidity to the top-order and carried the Proteas to a dominant position.

It was an innings of enormous maturity and composure by Erwee. There were shots, like the cover-drive, that he refused to visit until he had been at the crease for over an hour. New Zealand’s probing bowling also took him to some dark places, especially as he neared his maiden Test century before tea.

But the 32-year-old rode the ebbs and flows of his innings superbly. He stuck to his determined game-plan of playing as straight as possible and leaving well.

Astute shot-selection was the hallmark of Erwee’s innings. It is a quality Markram needs to revisit, post-haste, if he is to continue his Test career.

A million mistakes sees young Bulls team humbled 0

Posted on January 19, 2021 by Ken

The young Bulls team Jake White sent to Nelspruit for their Currie Cup match against the Pumas on Sunday may well have been extremely talented, but they also made a million mistakes as they were humbled 44-14 by the home side.

The Bulls conceded a plethora of penalties, many of them at the scrum, where the Pumas were hugely dominant, but others were just down to ill-discipline or not knowing the laws of the game properly. Those penalties ensured the Pumas bossed both the territory and possession stats.

But when the Bulls did have the ball, they also made several handling errors and conceded turnovers, meaning they were not able to make use of their opportunities. They also made mistakes in setting up their driving mauls, which robbed them of another attacking weapon.

When one adds a defence that was occasionally disorganised and a number of one-on-one tackles being missed, then the reasons for the heavy defeat are clear.

With coach White excluding most of the players who he will call on for their semi-final against the Lions on January 23, it was a case of U21s against seniors in Nelspruit.

But full credit to the Pumas, who put their run of defeats behind them and produced a fine display of rugby, largely cutting out the errors that dogged the Bulls. Their set-pieces were excellent, their maul effective and in open play they used the ball with dashing, while also defending well and competing effectively at the rucks.

The Pumas, retaining impressive hunger and drive at the end of a tough season, started in clinical fashion and by scoring five tries in the first 25 minutes they had effectively already shut the Bulls out of the match by racing to a 31-0 lead. The Bulls eventually made it on to the scoreboard after half-an-hour through a rolling maul try by debutant hooker Joe van Zyl.

The Bulls managed to keep the Pumas out better in the second half, apart from a second fine solo try by flyhalf Devon Williams.

The Bulls’ debutant inside centre Dawid Kellerman managed to take something out of the game with a good individual try of his own.


PumasTries: Luther Obi, Etienne Taljaard, Devon Williams (2), Willie Engelbrecht, Daniel Maartens. Conversions: Ginter Smuts (4). Penalties: Smuts (2).

BullsTries: Joe van Zyl, Dawid Kellerman. Conversions: Morne Steyn, Clinton Swart.

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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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