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Ken Borland



‘We are finding it harder to win at home’ – Pace 0

Posted on February 26, 2024 by Ken

FANCOURT (Western Cape), 14 February 2024 – “It’s nice to see the overseas support of the Sunshine Ladies Tour, it has grown a lot, but we are now finding it harder to win at home,” the prolific Lee-Anne Pace said with a chuckle on the eve of the Dimension Data Ladies Pro-Am that kicks off the new season at Fancourt from Thursday.

Played on the great Montague and Outeniqua courses at Fancourt, the tournament has a R2.5 million prize fund which 44 professionals are fighting over. It is the second year in which the ladies will play alongside the men’s event being held at the same time, on the same courses.

Of the 44-strong field, 28 are from overseas, highlighting the strength of the nine-event Sunshine Ladies Tour and the value it offers women professionals.

“There’s a really strong overseas contingent coming to play and the fields on the Sunshine Ladies Tour seem to get stronger every week,” Pace, a 14-tme winner, said.

“It’s a really good field this week and I think the scores are going to be quite a lot lower than last year. The courses are quite a bit softer than usual, and on the shorter side, so we can attack a little bit more. I think there are going to be a lot of birdies and as always, it’s going to come down to putting.”

There is an important pro-am aspect to the event, with 44 amateurs each playing with a pro in the team event. Pace, who won the Dimension Data Ladies Challenge at nearby George Golf Club in 2014, said the format will provide a fun side for the professionals.

“Nowadays we are so used to playing in pro-ams with all the Aramco events on the Ladies European Tour. So it will be quite a lot of fun to get to know some of the top women in business. I’ve made some really good friends from playing in pro-ams.”

Even though it is the start of the South African season, Pace is one of the players to bring some form into the event, having finished in a tie for 11th at last weekend’s Kenya Ladies Open, the first event of the new Ladies European Tour season. The 42-year-old shot a brilliant 68 in the final round to ensure she comes to Fancourt with some confidence.

“I felt really good on the last day and played really nicely. That’s after feeling really sick on the first day. So I feel I do have a bit of form on my side,” Pace said.

Compatriot Cara Gorlei also finished in the tie for 11th, and was leading the tournament before a 77 in the third round pushed her down the leaderboard.

France’s Anne-Lise Caudal, a two-time LET winner, is among the stronger foreign contenders, along with Germany’s Carolin Kauffmann, who finished fifth in last year’s Dimension Data Pro-Am and Englishwoman Lauren Taylor, who has two top-10 finishes in this event.

Former champions from South Africa in Stacey Bregman and Lejan Lewthwaite are also in the field.

‘We are not a 1-man show’, Mulder says after he & Klaasen destroy JSK 0

Posted on February 08, 2024 by Ken

MAGNIFICENT – Heinrich Klaasen in full flow at the Wanderers.
Photo: Richard Huggard (Sportzpics)

“We are not a one-man show,” Wiaan Mulder said when asked why the Durban Super Giants have made it all the way to the SA20 final following their 69-run demolition of the Joburg Super Kings in the last Qualifier at the Wanderers on Thursday evening.

But if truth be told, their emphatic victory was at most a two-man show as a scintillating partnership between Mulder and Heinrich Klaasen carried the game well out of the Super Kings’ reach.

Klaasen and Mulder added 101 for the fifth wicket off just 38 balls, transforming a match in which Joburg seemed to have the upper hand for the first dozen overs. They lashed 112 runs in the last seven overs, including 29 runs being plundered off both the 15th over bowled by Imran Tahir and the 18th bowled by Sam Cook.

The incredible onslaught carried the Super Giants to 211 for six after they had been sent in to bat. The stand between Klaasen and Mulder was the best ever for Durban’s fifth wicket, beating the unbeaten 84 Klaasen and Matthew Breetzke put on against the Pretoria Capitals at SuperSport Park last season.

The Super Giants then kept chipping away with the ball, dismissing Joburg Super Kings for 142 in the 18th over.

The Durbanites did not have a great start, being 52 for three after seven overs, but Sri Lankan Bhanuka Rajapaksa, making his SA20 debut, helped Klaasen stabilise matters with his composed 35 off 23 balls as 43 was added for the fourth wicket. They then had the breathing space to launch the most stunning assault in the closing overs.

“We kinda knew the pitch had something in it and it was important to have a partnership,” Mulder said. “It’s not like we said we were going to pull the trigger, but we had a couple of match-ups, one thing led to the next and it just happened.

“A couple of soft balls got me going, then Klaasie got going and we all know how devastating he is when he’s firing. He’s arguably the best T20 batsman in the world at the moment. He’s a superstar and to score 74 off 30 on that pitch is a joke.

“I don’t think over 200 was par, maybe 180. It was really hard to score when they bowled into the pitch, but we had a couple of opportunities when they went full. And the way Klaasie was striking it, he turned 180 into more than 200. If the bowlers missed by a foot, they were in the stands, and maybe there were a few execution errors,” Mulder said.

The all-rounder will surely have changed some perceptions about him as a T20 player as his superb, vital 50 not out off just 23 balls continued his strong form this season.

While Klaasen will undoubtedly be the key man when DSG take on the Sunrisers at Newlands on Saturday, the defending champions will know their opponents have in-form, contributing players right through their line-up.

Breetzke and Jon-Jon Smuts have both made consistent runs and five DSG bowlers have taken more than 10 wickets.

“We are very similar to the Sunrisers in that we’ve had consistent performances from different people and that’s what wins competitions,” Mulder said. “To win competitions doesn’t take one person, it’s about how the players and management look after each other. In any successful team, the people play for the team.

“The most important thing is the environment and trying to create a good culture. There’s no unnecessary pressure put on us and there’s no nitpicking from anyone. That’s a big part of why we will be playing in the final,” Mulder said.

We will have to wait a little longer for Schaper’s maiden pro win as Moolman pips him 0

Posted on December 21, 2022 by Ken

BENONI, Gauteng – We will have to wait a little longer for Jayden Schaper’s maiden professional win, but Pieter Moolman was a worthy winner of the Fortress Invitational at Ebotse Links on Sunday as he pipped the highly-rated former junior star in a playoff.

Moolman certainly did the hard yards for his maiden Sunshine Tour title, starting the final round three shots behind Schaper. And as he reached the final hole in regulation play, he was three-under for his round, having mixed five birdies with two bogeys, and looked like falling just short on 12-under-par as Schaper was already on 14-under-par.

But the 31-year-old Moolman hit an excellent drive and a superb approach shot on the par-five 18th to 10 feet from the hole, and nailed the eagle putt to vault to 14-under.

Schaper then bogeyed the par-four 17th but made birdie at the last to force a playoff with an excellent up-and-down after short-siding himself.

Moolman again hit a brilliant second in the playoff, finishing just off the green after being in the semi-rough on a mound. He would chip and sink a four-foot putt for birdie, while Schaper was unfortunate that his approach shot, which looked really good in the air, took a hard first bounce and ran through the green. The 21-year-old then could not quite sink a 10-footer for birdie, handing Moolman the win.

“I’ve lost a few times in these situations, but I’ve played better golf a few times than I did today,” Moolman said. “So to get over the line is really special and it shows that it does not take a perfect performance to win.

“It’s more mental, about believing you can still put a score on the board if you’re playing average golf, when your swing is not really there. I just had to stay in the moment and commit to what I was doing, take it shot-for-shot.”

Schaper will look back on a level-par back nine, which featured bogeys at the par-three 11th and the penultimate hole, as having cost him, but he showed tremendous determination and character in birdieing the last hole to get into the playoff, from which point it all becomes a bit of a lottery.

For Moolman, who like Schaper is based in Benoni and knows the Ebotse Links well, the win will give him great confidence heading into the big summer events. He has finished runner-up twice before this year, including at the Tour Championship at nearby Serengeti Estate.

“I’ve been playing solid golf for a while and I played solid enough the whole week, I was just trying to give myself opportunities, keep the ball in play and give myself a chance,” Moolman said.

“Finishing second at the Wild Coast a few weeks back, I made some mistakes down the back nine, but I learnt from that and how to stay strong.

“Now that I’ve won, you start believing you can win again and that you belong here. I’m looking forward to the summer events,” Moolman said.

Although he finished fourth, two shots off the pace, Sean Bradley will remember the final round for a long time as he began with a double-bogey at the first hole, but then made a hole-in-one at the par-three eighth. He then rounded off his round with a massive eagle putt, from off the green, on the last hole, finishing with a 63 that put him right into contention.

American Dan Erickson claimed third place on 13-under, signing for a 67 after he could only make par on the last three holes.

‘We know our strategy & philosophy as a team’ – Maharaj 0

Posted on August 24, 2022 by Ken

Stand-in captain Keshav Maharaj leads South Africa into an ODI series against world champions England from Tuesday and he said on Monday that “For me it’s about picking up where Temba Bavuma left off, we know our strategy and philosophy as a team.”

Regular captain Bavuma will miss the entire England tour due to a torn tendon in his elbow, and the ODI fortunes of the Proteas will be watched with keen interest because it is the one format in which their performances have lagged a bit. Plus there is the unprecedented decision to forfeit three Super League World Cup qualifying matches in Australia next January.

These three ODIs in England are not part of the Super League, but they will be a good indicator of whether South Africa’s 50-over team is starting to come together with a World Cup next year.

“Relatively speaking, we have not done as well in ODIs,” Maharaj said, “but we have tried various methods and combinations and hopefully we have found our rhythm now.

“We have put in a lot of hard work in the last 12 months and hopefully we will see results now. This might not be part of the Super League, but we are still playing international cricket and representing our country.

“It’s an opportunity to play more together as a unit, and it is still an important series as we try and get those combinations right for when there are lots of important Super League points coming up.

“We are trying to build some confidence in the ODI unit, we have come a long way and this series is an opportunity to do something special as a team,” Maharaj said.

Forewarned is forearmed and hopefully the Proteas will not be shellshocked when the England batsmen launch their now trademark all-out assault on them from the start of their innings.

“England do have a very positive approach, and if conditions allow it then we can be more aggressive too. But it’s about being smart and doing what we can to negate their batting.

“England have a lot of all-rounders in their middle/lower order and they bat quite deep. We have to make sure we execute the basics, get our thinking right on the day and adapt very quickly to conditions,” Maharaj said.

The venue for the first ODI – Chester-le-Street – is in Durham, the capital of the north-east of England, and the last time the Proteas were here was in the 2019 World Cup when their pacemen cashed in on helpful conditions to bowl Sri Lanka out for 203 and win by nine wickets. It was one of their few good days in that tournament.

England will want to capitalise on the emotion of Ben Stokes, the hero of their World Cup triumph, playing his last ODI on his home ground, the Test captain having announced his retirement from the international 50-over format on Monday.

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