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Ken Borland

Luke Donald looks to have a second wind 0

Posted on January 14, 2015 by Ken


Judging by his performance in the Nedbank Golf Challenge, former world number one Luke Donald is certainly on course for a second wind in his career that reached the pinnacle of world golf in 2011 but then stalled as he dropped down the rankings in 2013.

Having reached new heights three years ago when he became the first golfer to win both the European and PGA Tour moneylists in the same year, Donald has not won since November 2013 and missed out on selection for Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team this year.

He changed coach in mid-2013 and although he has since split from Chad Cook and gone back to Pat Goss, Donald said yesterday that there was no second-guessing his decision.

“I changed coach because I felt my game was not going the way I wanted it to, in particular I didn’t feel I was a good enough driver of the ball to win a Major. But it’s tough to break 30 years of golfing DNA, I didn’t play very well and I struggled to see a change, so I went back to Pat. Change is hard, but it was a good decision to join Chad because it made me realise that sometimes what you have is good enough,” Donald said.

The Gary Player Country Club course, however, is not the sort of place where poor drivers of the ball prosper, and Donald showed that he has plenty of game in the second round, picking up a dazzling nine birdies and not dropping a single shot.

“Every tee shot here has danger and you really have to be switched on and play good, solid shots. I feel I’ve done that very well today,” Donald said.

Whether or not Donald is the winner on Sunday – it would be a tremendous way to celebrate his 37th birthday the same day – the Englishman feels he is getting back to being one of the best golfers in the world.

“Winning would give me a huge amount of confidence that I’m doing the right thing, but my main goal is just to keep moving forward, keep getting better. Sometimes we put the Majors on too much of a pedestal. I prefer to stick to smaller goals,” he said.

In coming through a couple of miserable years, Donald has also shown that he has the character within him to overcome the tough times that inevitably come in golf and he admitted a change in mindset had also been necessary for him to rebound.

“I’d never had big struggles before but I think I needed to adjust mentally. You expect your golf to be good and for that to make you happy on the course, but it’s the other way round.”

Once the most consistent golfer in the world, Donald has the short game to capitalise on the opportunities he creates from tee to green and the old solidity is definitely returning.


Nobody can stop sublime Donald’s charge into the lead 0

Posted on January 14, 2015 by Ken

Former world number one Luke Donald was in sublime form at Sun City on Friday and nobody was able to interfere with his charge into the lead of the Nedbank Golf Challenge after the second round at the Gary Player Country Club.

With precision driving and his usual brilliant iron play, Donald went shopping for birdies and one of the best putters in the game collected nine of them in all. Not dropping a shot completed a dazzling round for the Englishman, his 63 lifting him to 10-under-par, two shots ahead of overnight leader Ross Fisher.

UPDATE: Nedbank Golf Challenge: Round 3 results

It’s hard to believe based on Friday’s evidence that all has not been right with Donald’s game recently; the first man to win both the European and PGA Tour moneylists in the same year (2011) has not won a tournament since November 2013 and Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley took the difficult decision to leave him off the triumphant Ryder Cup team this year.

“I think everything starts for me when I feel like I can drive it in the fairway and then give myself some opportunities, and then I’m not scrounging around trying to make pars and get up‑and‑down.

“So I gave myself a lot of good opportunities today, I didn’t put myself into too much trouble, and obviously when the putter is warm, it’s always one of my best weapons in the bag. So it was nice to roll in a few today,” Donald said after one of the best rounds ever seen at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.

Fisher actually regained the lead from his compatriot after a wonderful eagle-birdie combo on the 10thand 11th holes, but an offline tee-shot on the par-three 12th drifted on to the mound next to the green and then bounced deep into the bushes, forcing him to drop and the resulting double-bogey checked his progress.

A wayward drive on 14 led to another bogey and Fisher probably did well to stop the bleeding and par the remaining four holes for a 70 and eight-under-par overall.

“It’s a tough golf course and I don’t feel like I played probably as solid as yesterday. I didn’t hit it as good off the tee. But I still felt like I played pretty solid. I hit one poor tee shot on 14 which cost me a six and had to take a penalty drop there. I got it to five‑under after 11, so I was hoping to kick on and reproduce 66 from yesterday or even a little bit better. But unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, so I still shot under par, even with a couple of those loose shots coming in.

“Today it just seemed like every putt we over‑borrowed. I hit at least half-a-dozen, if not seven or eight putts, that I hit exactly where I wanted to hit it, and just unfortunately was over-reading the greens today,” Fisher said.

Crucial errors on the back nine were also the feature of the two other golfers in the final three-ball – Marcel Siem and George Coetzee.

Siem lost ground with a level-par 72 leaving him on four-under-par, the German suffering successive bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes thanks to wayward tee shots.

“It was a strange day, the total opposite from yesterday. It started really nicely, but all of us had problems on the golf course today. It was not like yesterday where we fed from each other. I felt like we were never going to finish, and on 16, we felt the whole tournament was over already. We played five hours, two minutes, just had a really long round and we didn’t play as well as we did yesterday.  Unfortunately the few chances we had on the back nine didn’t drop,” Siem lamented.

Coetzee plummeted even further down the leaderboard after a 74 left him on two-under, the South African dropping three shots on the back nine, including one on the infamous par-five 14th, where he found the dreaded love-grass.

Another Englishman, Tommy Fleetwood, had the next best round of the day after Donald, a five-under-par 67 that included a rare eagle on the 14th, as he swiftly recovered from being in the wars on the par-four 13th.

That lifted Fleetwood to three-under-par overall and in the five-man group tied for sixth. Brendon Todd, Thongchai Jaidee, Charl Schwartzel and Tim Clark are the other golfers on 141.

Ahead of them are Siem, Englishman Danny Willett, who shot a 68 to jump to five-under, and Frenchman Alexander Levy, who posted a solid 70.

“It was a good 70, I’m happy because it’s not my best golf but I managed the golf course well. It’s always good to play 70 on this golf course, it’s very difficult and it’s hot,” Levy said.

Although the English dominance, with four golfers in the top six, will be galling for the home fans, it would be boorish for anybody to begrudge the brilliant Donald his success.

“Obviously nine birdies around this place is a great round and something I was very pleased with. It’s been a while since I played such a solid round,” Donald said.

The man may never have won a Major, but he can certainly produce championship golf as he showed on Friday.

Petersen giving other kids the chance to repeat his unlikely story 0

Posted on December 29, 2014 by Ken

A young boy raised by a single mother in an impoverished Port Elizabeth community beset by drug and alcohol abuse is an unlikely candidate to become an opening batsman with five centuries for the world’s number one Test side, but that’s the story of Alviro Petersen.

And the 33-year-old is making sure that other young kids in Gelvandale now have the opportunity to enjoy the same success story through the Alviro Petersen Foundation, which celebrated its first birthday at a fundraising dinner at Randpark Golf Club this week.

It was an elite gathering of three excellent Test opening batsmen in Petersen, Barry Richards and Chris Gayle.

The West Indian has always shown an acute appreciation for the fact that his job as a sportsman is to entertain and he certainly did that in his own inimitable Caribbean style.

But beyond the often raucous humour lay the serious business of changing lives, which the Foundation is certainly already doing.

Their efforts have so far focused on four schools in the northern suburbs of Port Elizabeth – Fontein Primary School, Otto du Plessis and Gelvandale high schools and St Thomas School. Apart from donating cricket kit, the Foundation have also made arrangements for two-dozen children to have their school fees paid and they have contracted Second Chance to deliver substance abuse and life skills programmes.

Petersen himself spoke with great meaning and passion to the couple of hundred supporters and friends of his foundation at the dinner.

“I was a young boy growing up in a poor community, raised by a single mother after my parents split when I was two. It was a community rife with drugs, alcohol and gangsterism and it was never going to be likely that I was going to get to where I am today,” he said.

“But South Africa is a country of the unlikely and when I was eight I said I wanted to play for South Africa. When I was 18, I hopped on a bus for a 20-hour trip to Pretoria, where I had a small contract with a club,” Petersen recalled of his humble beginnings.

“It’s been one year since our launch and we’ve been very busy. We’ve done so much already, but there’s so much more to do. You can find potential in every person and we just want to make sure kids get an adequate education and it’s safe for them to play. Women and children must be safe from abuse and we’re going to focus on that in 2015.

“There are kids who drop out of school because of circumstances beyond their control and we hope we can make their dreams come true as well,” Petersen said.

Perhaps the pick of the stories told, however, was of Ashton Frodsham, a Grade 7 pupil at Beaulieu Prep School, who raised R15 000 in two weeks for KES lightning strike victim Mpheto Bidili and then donated R10 000 to the Alviro Petersen Foundation to buy cricket kit, having asked for donations rather than presents for his 13th birthday.

It is rare that someone who is still active at international level – and is surely also focused on dealing with the pressure to keep his place – is already giving back to such an extent. Having survived all the early blows that life dished up to him, it is a further mark of Petersen’s character.

For cricketing wisdom, the dinner had Richards, who in his day was up there with Gayle when it came to destroying bowling attacks. The former opening batsman turned commentator said he was puzzled by AB de Villiers not batting higher up the order for South Africa and was concerned about the Proteas’ suspect death bowling.





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