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Ken Borland

Venter completes inspired 3 rounds of golf with victory 0

Posted on October 07, 2022 by Ken

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Albert Venter completed an inspired three days of golf as he won the SunBet Challenge hosted by Time Square Casino at Wingate Park Country Club by six strokes on Friday.

Going into the final round with a five-stroke lead, the 26-year-old said his approach was to think he was actually tied for the lead, and that saw him get the job done on an even more blustery, and colder, day in Pretoria.

Venter offset two bogeys on each nine with five birdies, and always looked in complete control of affairs, especially after birdies at the second and third holes.

“Even with a five-shot cushion I knew I could take nothing for granted because there have been a lot of cases where someone has a big lead and they don’t get over the line,” Venter said.

“So my mindset was that I was tied for the lead and just needed to play as solidly as I could. Starting off the tournament with a 63 put me in a really good position, so the last two rounds were just about maintaining that and trying to increase my lead.

“But you never know what could happen at the next hole if you make a mistake, so it’s really important to have that cushion,” Venter said.

Venter’s one-under 71 on Friday lifted him to 13-under for the tournament, with Ruan Korb also shooting a 71 and finishing second on seven-under-par.

Estiaan Conradie was alone in third on six-under after a 73 on Friday, with Michael Palmer (-5) and Jean Hugo (-4) completing the top-five.

Venter has now claimed two titles on the Sunshine Tour this year following his triumph in the Zimbabwe Open in May, and he said from now through October, he will be honing his game in preparation for the co-sanctioned events in the summer.

“I just try to play as good as I can in every tournament, but my main focus at the moment is on peaking at the end of the year in those big events, the four co-sanctioned tournaments.

“Those are like the Sunshine Tour majors. Knowing that I’m playing well will give me a lot of confidence. All of this is prep work for the end of the year,” Venter said.

Venter keeps the door closed on his rivals as he shoots 69 0

Posted on October 05, 2022 by Ken

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Albert Venter led by four strokes after the first round of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Time Square Casino at the Wingate Park Country Club and the 26-year-old ensured he kept the door closed on his rivals in Thursday’s second round as he posted a solid three-under-par 69 to stretch that advantage to five strokes.

Venter will head into the final round on 12-under-par for the tournament, having shot a brilliant 63 in the first round.

There was a blustery wind in Pretoria on Thursday, just the sort of conditions in which a golfer could blow a lead on the hard and fast greens of Wingate Park, and Venter began his round cautiously, being level-par, with a birdie and a bogey, through his first eight holes.

But he was then able to tear around the turn with three birdies in the next four holes. Six straight pars coming in on the front nine completed a round which could only be considered a success.

“The wind picked up a lot today so my first few holes were not too bad. It was definitely trickier today to figure out which way it was blowing. Because the course is tree-lined, it swirls around a bit,” Venter said.

“There were quite difficult decisions to make over which irons to play. But we predicted the wind would pick up and the plan was to get my score as low as possible to build a bit of a cushion.

“Thankfully I kept my head in the game and managed to get a decent score. I can’t control what the other golfers do, but I am in a really good position,” Venter said.

On a hard day to shoot a really low score, Estiaan Conradie (69) and Jean Hugo (68) have done really well to position themselves as Venter’s closest challengers, on seven-under-par.

Luke Brown produced the round of the day, a 66 that included seven birdies to join Ruan Korb (70) on six-under for the tournament.

Venter won the Zimbabwe Open in May for his maiden Sunshine Tour title and will be able to learn from that experience in Friday’s final round.

“The big thing about winning is trying to get into those positions more and more, trying to get used to the atmosphere and nerves you face on the final day,” the Silver Lakes golfer said.

“I’ve been in quite a few situations like that in the last few years, although I wouldn’t say I’m experienced. But I’ve been in the situation before and I know how to deal with the nerves and the adrenaline.

“I can’t get ahead of myself, I have to stay patient and stick to my guns,” Venter said.

Venter stays chill to turn dream start into brilliant round 0

Posted on October 03, 2022 by Ken

PRETORIA, Gauteng – Albert Venter enjoyed a dream start to his round, but then had to stay chill to ensure he converted it into a brilliant one on the opening day of the SunBet Challenge hosted by Time Square Casino at the Wingate Park Country Club in Pretoria on Wednesday.

Venter, teeing off shortly before noon, birdied the first three holes and then made sure he gave nothing away as he compiled a bogey-free nine-under-par 63 to give himself a four-stroke lead after the first round of the R1 million event.

The Silver Lakes golfer ensured he didn’t push too hard, making pars from the fourth to eighth holes, before making his fourth birdie at the par-three ninth hole. Venter went on another superb run from the 12th hole, going birdie-eagle-birdie, and then he capped his round with another birdie on the 18th, the third par-five of the back nine.

“Those three birdies in the first three holes really put my round in place, but it was important not to get ahead of myself,” Venter said. “I just tried to keep hitting greens and give myself chances.

“I had to still go through my processes. I reached the turn in four-under even though there was only one par-five on the front nine. With three par-fives on the back nine, I always thought there would be scoring opportunities there and I just had to be patient.

“On the 13th I had only an eight-iron in, but finished on the fringe because of an unlucky bounce. But then I putted in from there, although it counts as a chip-in on the stats,” Venter laughed.

There’s not much water around Wingate Park and it’s nice to golfers off the tee, but the firm greens, especially at this time of year, are what generally prevents golfers from really laying down the law on the course established in the late 1940s.

“Wingate Park in winter is quite difficult because the greens are quick, firm and fast,” Venter said. “That’s the defence – it’s unpredictable how the ball will bounce on them, so your approach shots have to be more accurate, you have to be more specific about where you land the ball.

“Hitting 10 fairways obviously helped me. The course is quite tree-lined so those fairways I missed, fortunately it was not a big enough miss to land me in too much trouble,” Venter said.

Other golfers to get good returns on Wednesday were Hennie O’Kennedy, Richard Joubert and Martin Rohwer, who all shot five-under 67s to share second place.

Estiaan Conradie, Wynand Dingle, Keagan Thomas and Ruan Korb were a further stroke back after shooting 68s.

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