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Ken Borland



Move to Lost City a boost for McCallum 0

Posted on April 03, 2024 by Ken

SUN CITY, North-West – This year’s SuperSport Ladies Challenge at Sun City from Wednesday has been moved from the Gary Player Country Club to Lost City, and Tandi McCallum reckons that is a boost for her chances, even though she finished runner-up in this event at GPCC in 2020.

That year, McCallum was edged out in a playoff by Lejan Lewthwaite, but the Johannesburger won the Sun International Ladies Challenge at Lost City in 2014.

“I’ve actually done better at Lost City, I won there in 2014 and I prefer it to the Gary Player Country Club, which I know a lot of connoisseurs will frown on. I just enjoy being there, it suits my eye and it rewards golfers who hit it very straight and putt well,” McCallum said.

“Lost City demands that you be a bit more strategic, it’s very firm on the side of the mountain and the undulating fairways mean you have got to be in good positions. The key is to be on the fairways, but they are so hard that you can’t overpower the course. I find Gary Player Country Club has more generous fairways.”

Fortunately for much of the field playing in the SuperSport Ladies Challenge, they will be coming from the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am at Fancourt, which required some advanced golfing skills and would have battle-hardened the Sunshine Ladies Tour contingent.

McCallum played solidly enough to finish in a tie for 13th on 10-over-par, the winning score being Kylie Henry’s three-under-par 213. The Scotswoman is teeing it up again at Lost City, but many of the other European golfers have moved on to the Ladies European Tour, which has an event in Morocco starting on Thursday.

“I didn’t play super-well on day three when there were fantastic conditions but a very challenging set-up,” McCallum said. “But it was good to shake off any rust and I was very happy to make the cut.

“It’s great for us South Africans to be able to compare ourselves with the international players, but this week there is an overlapping LET event. Generally our tour has international players who don’t have full cards in Europe, so if they get a start over there then they will take it. But we will still have a very competitive field at Lost City.”

Veteran Lee-Anne Pace, who charged up the leaderboard on the final day at Fancourt to finish second, will be looking to go one better this week and LPGA star and 2022 SuperSport Ladies Challenge winner Paula Reto is also in the field.

A young up-and-coming talent to watch is 19-year-old Gabrielle Venter, who finished tied-fifth at the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am, her best ever Sunshine Ladies Tour result.

Kolisi ditching his 5yr Sharks contract is all kosher – Eduard 0

Posted on October 13, 2023 by Ken

Current captain Siya Kolisi will be leaving the Sharks at the end of the season, even though he signed a five-year contract renewal last May, to join Racing 92 in France, and it’s all kosher according to the local franchise’s CEO Eduard Coetzee.

Kolisi’s three-year deal with Racing, a Parisian club, was announced on Tuesday and, while it will no doubt shock Sharks fans and cause consternation in terms of those wondering what happens to the Springbok captaincy after the World Cup, Coetzee said he was leaving Kings Park early with their full blessing.

“Siya’s move to France is a new and exciting opportunity and we could not be happier for him. We are blessed to have him don the black-and-white jersey and we know that over the next few months, he will continue to give back to the team and our fans,” Coetzee said in a Sharks statement, which also said the move was “part of a broader long-term collaboration between the Sharks and Racing 92, with the two clubs having come to an amicable agreement, while they also look forward to continuing to build a mutually-beneficial relationship in the future.”

Kolisi expressed his gratitude to the Sharks for their willingness to part with their most iconic player.

“It has been an incredible collaborative effort between the Sharks and Racing 92 that has enabled me to start a new chapter in my career after the 2023 World Cup.

“I want to give a massive thanks to the Sharks for welcoming me with open arms in 2021, and for making me feel so at home in Durban, while their support over the last couple of years has been hugely influential during a key period in my career.

“I am immensely appreciative that the Sharks have given me their blessing to make this move, and it goes without saying that I will continue to give my all for the team over the next few months,” Kolisi said.

“The signing of Siya Kolisi reinforces the ambitions of Racing 92 and will offer our supporters a high-level of performance,” said Jack Lorenzetti, the owner of Racing.

“His winning ambition and natural leadership makes him a great player, but he’s also a deep humanist. He will bring additional positive energy to Racing 92.”

The 31-year-old’s departure to France, for what is probably hundreds of thousands of euro a year, certainly spices up the debate about how the Springboks should approach the post-2023 World Cup era.

Kolisi will only be 32 at the end of this year’s World Cup, and 36 at the 2027 event in Australia, which he will presumably still be available for given that his Sharks contract was going to run until then.

Whoever is in charge of the Springboks at the end of this year may want to keep Kolisi as captain, perhaps with a handover period to his successor.

Salute understaffed Internationals for doing Presidents Cup credit 0

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Ken

One can only salute Trevor Immelman’s understaffed International team for their heroic comeback in the Presidents Cup at the weekend, and even though they were eventually beaten 17½-12½, they did themselves and, perhaps most importantly, the event a huge credit.

The United States had won the last eight successive editions of the biennial tournament, so they were overwhelming favourites even before the defections to LIV Golf decimated Immelman’s team. The South African captain was forced to choose eight rookies for the event. His highest-ranked player was Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, ranked 14th in the world; there were 10 Americans ranked higher.

And then the Internationals suffered a nightmare start as they crashed 8-2, and then 11-4, behind on the first two days.

But the Internationals stood tall on the weekend, winning 10½ of the last 20 points. At one stage on the final day singles, they had closed to within two points of the United States, with several other games in the balance.

For those who love the Presidents Cup and team golf, it was wonderful to see the Internationals fight so hard to prove their competitiveness. They may have lost the match, but they ensured this event will survive for at least a while longer.

Many seasoned observers have marvelled at the number of long-range putts the Americans sank during the event. It almost seemed like whenever they looked at the hole, even from miles away, they would sink the putt.

While one should credit the hosts for their attacking mindset, it’s probably fair to say they also enjoyed some good fortune.

South Africa’s only other member of the team, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, was unbeaten with 1½ points, although he somewhat surprisingly only played two matches.

“We showed a lot of guts to fight back,” Immelman said after the defeat. “At some point this afternoon, I thought there was still a chance.

“When you consider we were 8-2 down, this team is no joke, and I’m sick and tired of it being spoken of as a joke. We love this event, we love our team, and we cannot wait to have another shot.”

Batting 1st with rain around has po-faced critics, but Proteas sticking to their strengths – Maharaj 0

Posted on September 05, 2022 by Ken

Proteas captain Keshav Maharaj’s decision to bat first even though rain was forecast in the third and decisive ODI against England last weekend had its po-faced critics, but as he later explained it was done to ensure South Africa stuck to their strengths and their game-plan, which leans heavily on their spinners.

While the rain ultimately washed out the match and made the toss a moot point, when the T20 series gets underway on Wednesday night in Bristol, we can expect the Proteas to stick to roughly the same game-plan as they use in ODI cricket.

South Africa’s rise to fourth in the T20 rankings has been built around the strength of their attack, and Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, number three in the world T20 rankings, have been key performers with their ability to both take wickets and stem the flow of runs. The game-plan has been the security blanket they cling to because it has carried them through some very tough times.

“We want to make sure we stick to our blueprint at all times and not go back into our slump,” Maharaj said.

“We really turned up to play in the last ODI, it could have been a spectacular end to the series, so it was frustrating to not get a result, but we can’t control the rain.

“The overhead conditions at Headingley told a different story, but the pitch was quite dry and we back our two spinners. We wanted to allow the wicket to deteriorate and use the spinners in the second innings,” Maharaj said.

Despite their awful collapse to 83 all out in the second ODI, the Proteas have built up some trust in their batting line-up. Aiden Markram (third) and Rassie van der Dussen (10th) are both high in the T20 world rankings, while Quinton de Kock is 15th and he showed in the final ODI that he still has that matchwinning x-factor.

“Obviously the batting collapse was not ideal and it was really disappointing after the spectacular batting in the first game,” Maharaj said. “The batting unit has generally been pretty good lately though.

“That first ODI was probably the most clinical we’ve been in the last 18 months and we want to replicate that in the T20s. Adapting to the pitch is the most crucial thing.

“It’s great to have Quinny back to his best too and his skill factor is one of the best in the world. He made it look much easier to bat than it was, and it’s always nice to see your senior players put their hands up,” Maharaj said.

David Miller is captain for the T20s and the series is likely to see the return of both Markram, who missed the India matches due to Covid, and Rilee Rossouw to the top-three of the Proteas batting line-up.

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