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Ken Borland



Superb weekend displays prove SA golf not going to the dogs 0

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Ken

A South African may not have won a Major title since Ernie Els triumphed at the Open in 2012, but any suggestion our golf is going to the dogs has been refuted by the superb displays of our golfers around the world over the weekend.

Between them, South Africa’s four top performing golfers over the weekend – Louis Oosthuizen, Garrick Higgo, Ashleigh Buhai and Els himself – took home nearly R23 million in prizemoney. And that excludes the cash raked in by the top-five finishes of both George Coetzee and Retief Goosen.

The Major event of the weekend was the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club outside New York and the powerful Bryson de Chambeau unleashed his dogs of war in the final round, in which he was the only golfer to shoot under-par, to win by a massive six strokes.

Oosthuizen, who was four off the pace at the start of the round, was soon out of real contention for the title as De Chambeau began dismembering the course on his way to a 67, and his challenge ran out of steam with a three-over 73 on the final day. Nevertheless it was good enough for the 2010 Open champion to finish alone in third, two behind second-placed Matthew Wolff.

Oosthuizen took home more than R14.2 million for his efforts and he now has six top-three finishes in the Majors, including being runner-up at least once in all of them.

The PGA Tour Champions is a lucrative way for professional golfers who have turned 50 and qualified for the seniors tour to bulk up their medical aid and Els took home more than R2.6 million at the weekend when he finished third in the Pure Insurance Championship at Pebble Beach.

Unfortunately Els, who was the leader going into the final round, suffered another of his putting breakdowns as he missed a two-foot putt for par on the last that would have secured him a place in the playoff with eventual winner Jim Furyk and Jerry Kelly.

Goosen finished in fourth place, two shots adrift of Els.

Buhai (nee’ Simon) did get into a playoff in her event on the LPGA Tour, shooting a brilliant seven-under-par 65 in the final round to join Major winner Georgia Hall in the showdown for the Cambria Portland Classic title at Columbia Edgewater.

Unfortunately, Buhai’s putter, which had come to her aid numerous times earlier in the day, let her down on the second extra hole as she missed a par putt to deny her her maiden LPGA title.

The good news though for the three-time SA Open winner is that she has earned herself a place in the U.S. Open in December and she won nearly R2.7 million.

There was at least one South African winner at the weekend though and that was young rising star Garrick Higgo, who claimed his maiden European Tour title by winning the Portugal Open at Royal Obidos. In just his seventh start on the tour, a marvellous seven-under-par 65 drove the 21-year-old left-hander to the victory, Higgo beating Spaniard Pep Angles by one stroke.

Higgo was superb with the Driver all weekend, and he did not make a bogey in his last 26 holes, dropping just three shots all tournament.

While Higgo took home a little more than R3 million for his life-changing win, Coetzee continued to capitalise on his fine form by finishing in a tie for third, four shots back.

Picture looks rosy for Northerns women’s hockey 0

Posted on May 04, 2016 by Ken

 

The picture looks rosy for Northerns women’s hockey as their young side triumphed in the Senior Interprovincial Nationals at the weekend, showing impressive self-belief as they beat a star-studded, more experienced Southern Gauteng team in a shootout at the Randburg Hockey Stadium.

“We were definitely underdogs if you looked at the names on paper, Southern Gauteng are a powerhouse who have won many IPTs. But we took each game as it comes and we played very good hockey to get through the semi-finals. To beat North-West 4-0 was a very good performance and I was a bit concerned that we wouldn’t be able to reach that peak again.

“We were very nervous in the first half of the final, we showed our inexperience, but I knew if we could just keep them out then we could claw our way back. The players began to believe in themselves and put more pressure on. It was actually a blessing that we went 1-0 down because I told them ‘now we have to chase the game’.

“You can’t do all that work to get to the final and then just not play, so we began to pass the ball, be positive, and it felt like we shifted the momentum. We were winning more 50/50s, winning those one-on-one battles and we had more shots at goal,” coach Lindsay Wright told The Citizen.

“It’s very exciting and I believe it was some of the best hockey Northerns have ever played, the girls really stood up, which was wonderful. Northerns have tended to not play good hockey in the right moments, they tended to not get through semi-finals, although they were always recognised for their doggedness, their never-say-die attitude.

“We’re basically a university-based team, 90% of our players come through Tuks, so they’re all inexperienced and youthful and we rely heavily on the more experienced players. Tuks will attract more players and we have good schools, but we need to produce more locally-based players and keep them in the province, and then we will potentially build a powerhouse team,” Wright added.

Northerns are likely to lose KZN product Jacinta Jubb, their leading goalscorer, but it is certainly not doom and gloom for them. Player of the Tournament Celia Evans, in particular, is a phenomenal talent.

“Celia is one of the best players in the country right now and she is a real all-rounder, not just in terms of her hockey talent but in terms of what she gives to the team and her fellow players. She’s like Nicolene Terblanche and Kim Hubach, who have been there and done that and who constantly give to those who have less experience, which is the true sign of a very talented player,” Wright said.

Any champion side learns from their mistakes and Wright admitted that their failure to defend their title last year, when Southern Gauteng won the IPT, had been taken on board and thoroughly analysed.

Northens hockey is on the rise and the traditional powerhouses have been warned.

“The girls never gave up and their energy was fantastic. We took the lessons from last year and changed things round,” Wright said.

Madsen makes an early move in Tshwane Open 0

Posted on December 11, 2015 by Ken

Morten Orum Madsen has already triumphed in Johannesburg, winning the SA Open at Glendower in 2013, and the Dane made an early move to the top of the leaderboard in the Tshwane Open on Thursday, posting a seven-under-par 63 in the first round at Pretoria Country Club.

Madsen, who started his round on the 10th hole, will claim all the headlines after he aced the par-three eighth and then eagled the ninth for a spectacular finish to his round, but he was joined on seven-under later in the day by Englishman David Horsey.

While two international golfers are in the lead, South Africans performed strongly on a beautiful day at Pretoria Country Club, with Wallie Coetsee a shot behind in a tie for third with Australian Brett Rumford, while Dean Burmester, Keith Horne and Merrick Bremner all shot 65s and Chris Swanepoel, Oliver Bekker, Trevor Fisher Junior, Justin Walters, Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen are all on four-under.

Horsey started his round on the first hole and, after five successive pars, he motored to three-under at the turn with birdies on the sixth, eighth and ninth holes. He showed that a tactical, safety-first approach is the way to go on this parklands course as he then added four more birdies on the back nine, including shots picked up on the testing 16th and 17th holes, and completed a bogey-free round.

“It’s always nice to play a round with no bogeys, around here one loose tee-shot can easily lead to bogey or worse. I hit a lot of two and three-irons off the tee, just trying to be in the right place.

“Unlike Copperleaf [where the Tshwane Open was previously held], the bombers don’t have an advantage here, it’s a positional course. It’s very tactical, you have to hit the right spots and be sensible about when you attack the flags. I was able to pick my shots and sometimes you hit a three-iron off the tee and take a two-iron into the green!” Horsey said.

Madsen showed that his iron-play is in great nick as he followed up rounds of 64 and 66 to end last weekend’s Africa Open with his 63.

“It was fantastic. I’ve found something in my game that’s working and I’ve been pretty consistent. I’ve put it in the fairway a lot more recently. I’m giving myself a lot more looks at birdie and that makes everything easier. It takes the stress off the putter a bit and it’s easier to relax,” Madsen said.

Holes-in-one normally come at the most unexpected times, but Madsen said he had an inkling that one was around the corner for him.

“For the last couple of weeks I’ve been hitting some shots that were really close and I said to my caddie that a hole-in-one was on the cards pretty soon. Luckily for me it came today. I hit a fantastic shot, I couldn’t hit it better, and it spun back into the hole. That was only my second hole-in-one and it’s really special to have one in competition on the European Tour.

“I had 123 metres with a 54-degree wedge. The wind was a little bit off the right. I hit a really solid shot and struck it so well that it flew past the pin and then spun right back in,” Madsen said.

The 26-year-old was not finished yet, though, as he then proceeded to eagle the 490-metre par-five ninth.

“When you stand on the next tee after a hole-in-one you’re pretty pumped and confident. I succeeded in gathering my thoughts and hit a really nice drive and then a great second shot. I played a three-iron to 12 feet and then sank it, which was a fantastic way to finish. It was the kind of thing you dream about, but don’t expect,” Madsen said.

Coetsee was not able to finish the deal in the Joburg Open, leading at the start of the final round but being overtaken by Andy Sullivan, and he finished in a tie for 45th at the Africa Open, but the 42-year-old was impressive on Thursday in collecting five birdies and an eagle, and dropping just one shot, on his way to a 64.

Coetsee said he is taking a lot of irons off the tees and, even when he does hit driver, he’s not giving it 100% effort.

Rumford joined the Jeffrey’s Bay resident on six-under with a round that featured no dropped shots and three birdies on each nine.

While Raphael Jacquelin’s finish was nothing like Madsen’s, the Frenchman nevertheless surged up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth on five-under as he birdied holes seven to nine, having also started his round on the 10th.

Local hero George Coetzee’s round was nothing if not eventful as he started with two birdies, bogeyed the fourth and then birdied seven and nine to go out in 32. But he then bogeyed the 10th and 14th holes, before completing a 67 with birdies at the 15th and 16th holes.

http://citizen.co.za/343100/tshwane-open-first-round/

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