Jo’Burg Open. Andy Sullivan Wins Again in S.A.

White Dragon Golf

Andy Sullivan won the Jo’Burg Open and claimed a second European Tour title on South African soil in as many months.

Jo'Burg Open

Andy Sullivan / Getty Images

Andy carded a brilliant last round -6 under par 66 at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, on the East course, to post a winning total of -17 under par, a two shot victory.

Andy could not believe he would be in victory lane again so soon;

“It’s unbelievable, I never imagined it would happen again so quickly.”

“Coming down the stretch me and my caddie were loving life again and enjoying it. It seems to be a theme, enjoying my golf and getting the right results at the moment.”

“I want to say a big thank you to my coach Jamie Gough, who has really turned it around, and my psychologist Lee Crombleholme who has been exceptional this week, working hard on being patient out there.”

“I am just grateful it has all paid off and I get to hold another magnificent trophy in South Africa again.”

There was a five-way tie for second place at -15 under par, Kevin Phelan, Jaco Van Zyl, Tony Wall, David Howell and local favorite Wallie Coetsee.

David was happy to be back in form, if not too happy with his performance today, and this result will get him to St Andrews;

“I am absolutely delighted about that, that was one of the main reasons I came down here.”

“I have not played an Open at St Andrews and I’m not getting any younger so I knew my chances were running out. I am going to really enjoy it.”

“I played beautifully, probably made three really bad swings all week and they cost me shots each time, just hit one left on 14 that cost me a shot and then couldn’t find the putts coming in.”

“It’s not been the best start to the year and this is the first really good performance, which has been great. Frustrating not to finish it off because I gave myself a great chance, but it wasn’t to be.”

Tony was also happy to be in the St Andrews field, if not so good here;

“It’s very disappointing because I was really feeling good about today. A win is a win, but to play in The Open, especially at St Andrews, will be lovely.”

Kevin was not happy about missing out on St Andrews;

“I was just kind of plodding along the first three days, played some nice golf but didn’t really hole that many putts, but got the putts to drop on the front nine today and gave myself a chance.”

“It doesn’t look like I have done enough but I am delighted with the way I played.”

Jo’Burg Open. Wallie Coetsee Cruising

White Dragon Golf

Wallie Coetsee is cruising along at the top of the Jo’Burg Open leaderboard as he chases his maiden European Tour title at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

Jo.Burg Open

Wallie & Caddie/ Getty Images

Wallie carded a third round -2 under par 70 on the West course to post a tournament total of -14 under par at the Jo’Burg Open, and will take a two shot lead into the final round on Sunday. He admitted he had a few putting problems;

“The first tee shot there were no nerves, the six iron into the middle of the green there were no nerves, but once I grabbed that putter there was no feel.”

 “I three-putted but after that there were no nerves.”

“You need to keep a positive mind, me and my caddie are enjoying it out there and hopefully we can tomorrow.

“There is a lot at stake, more than you can think of, but it’s just a game at the end of the day.”

“Last night I only slept for about four hours but tonight I think I’m going to have a lot of sleep.”

There are four players those two shots behind at -12 under par, and will be trying to chase him down,  Jacques Blaauw, Tjaart van der Walt, David Howell and Steve Webster will keep the pressure on the leader.

Steve shot the low round of the day, a bogey free -7 under par 65 and said he had given himself a lot of opportunities today;

“I made a good birdie at the first and a good save at the second and just got on a bit of a roll,” Webster said. “I missed three or four 12-footers which was frustrating but there was a lot of really good golf today.

“I gave myself a lot of chances and that’s what my game is all about.”

David has made only one cut so far this season and is delighted that all his hard work with a new coach is now paying off;

“The season’s got off to a slow start so I came down here for three weeks and so far so good.”

“I’ve had a couple of bad swings each day but apart from that it’s been pretty good. You have to keep your foot down and keep making the birdies and obviously stay away from the mistakes.”

“I’ve had one big score with a seven yesterday but played some good golf between that.”

“I started with a new coach, Justin Parsons, a few weeks ago, just working on my rhythm. I am trying to swing the club as slowly as I have in my whole life and that’s a real challenge to bring that to the course.”

“I am delighted with how I’ve done that so far this week, it’s getting better by the day and hopefully that bodes well for tomorrow and future weeks coming up.”

Jo’Burg Open. Wallie Coetsee with Half-Way Lead.

White Dragon Golf

Wallie Coetsee has the half-way lead at the Jo’Burg Open on Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s West Course.

Jo'Burg Open

Wallie Coetsee / Getty Images

Wallie added a -6 under par 65 on the West course to his same score on the East yesterday to lead the Jo’Burg Open at -12 under par.

He said he was happy that there were no camera’s following him, I assume that to mean TV camera’s because we do have a picture above;

 “There were no cameras on me the whole day, so it was quite easy out there.”

“I made one stupid bogey out there on the seventh, but I enjoyed the round a lot.”

“There were a few sucker pins out there, so I went for middle green. I didn’t attack too much and just stayed calm, which paid off.”

“This is a marathon, not a race. You have to pull the horse back a bit, you can’t run too fast. We’ll let the horse loose on Sunday on the back nine.”

“For now it’s about making solid pars and keeping the battery at 100 per cent, keep it going and you’ll be ready when you need to be.”

“Leading means a lot, but tomorrow we start from level par again. I’ll just give it my best. I’m looking forward to this weekend and seeing what happens.”

South Africans have won six of the last eight Jo’Burg Open’s and Wallie has compatriots Garth Mulroy and Tjaart van der Walt just one behind at -11 under par, as well as England’s Simon Dyson.

Six-time European Tour winner Simon birdied four of his first nine holes today, before dropping his only shot of the round at the 12th. He finished with a -5 under par 67 on the East course, saying he had not played as well as he could have, but going back to his old irons has made a big difference;

“I didn’t play as well as yesterday, but I scored pretty well.”

 “I made four birdies on the front nine and I birdied the par fives,  if you get your drives away then they’re all pretty good chances.” 

“There was some luck. I got fortunate on ten. I pushed my drive down there and managed to get a shot, hit to about three feet and knocked that in, which was a bonus. “

“It was a good day and I was very happy with the score.”

“It’s been a while since I’ve been up there. I’ve been playing alright, but at the beginning of the season I changed my irons and they were costing me dearly. I didn’t have a clue how far they were going.”

“This is the first week I’ve put my old set back in the bag and all of a sudden I’m hitting it pin high again. That makes a heck of a difference.”

The leaderboard is quite compacted, there are nine players within three shots of the leader, so it will be a very interesting third round. Just to see if anyone can break away from the pack, on moving day, Saturday.



Jo’Burg Open. Nic Henning Leads after Record Breaking Round.

White Dragon Golf

South African Nic Henning leads the Jo’Burg Open following his record breaking first round.

Jo'Burg Open

Nic Henning / Getty Images

Nic Henning carded a record breaking first round of -10 under par 62 to lead the Jo’Burg Open on the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington’s West Course.

Nic has won four times on the co-sanctioning Sunshine Tour between 1999 and 2005, and looks set to challenge again, with five birdies and an eagle two in a remarkable outward nine of 29. He was obviously elated;

“It was fantastic,  I haven’t shot 29 for a couple of years, and I was a bit nervous coming down the last hole.”

“On the last hole of the front stretch I told myself that I had to make birdie and eventually I did that.”

“I’ve been playing well for the last few months, but my scores haven’t showed it. Over the last few years my scores have been really terrible and it’s nice to have a good round under the belt to prove to myself that I can still play well.

“It’s been a long time since I shot 62. I’ll try to do the same thing as I did today, just try to stay calm. I was calm today.”

“I’ll try to hit fairways and put myself in a good position. It’s about staying in the moment and taking every shot as it is.”

Tied in second place are Thomas Pieters, Titch Moore and Tjaart van der Walt, one shot back at -9 under par, in a low scoring day in South Africa.

Thomas was happy to make a good start to the competition;

“It was a good day and a good start.”

“You need to make a good score on this course, so I’m happy and hopefully we’ll have more of the same tomorrow.”

“It’s very possible to go low on East. The par fives are very reachable for me, so I’m going to take advantage of those.” 

“This season I gave myself a great chance in Abu Dhabi. I also had a top-ten at Leopard Creek, but I wasn’t really in contention.”

“In the Middle East I played good, but had one bad round in there. If I can play four solid rounds then hopefully a win will come soon.”

The newly appointed European Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke birdied his last two holes on the East Course for a level par 72.


Joburg Open. George Grabs His First Title

dragon logo dark

George Coetzee grabs his first title by winning the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

George Coetzee celebrates with the trophy after winning the Joburg Open at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

George Coetzee and first Trophy/ Getty Images

George put together a final flawless round of -6 under par 66, for a tournament total of -19 under par, a comfortable three shot victory on the East Course.

This was his 107th attempt at victory, and said he was lost for words;

“ I’m ecstatic, I don’t know what I’m feeling , I’m lost for words. I’ve been waiting a while and I started doubting, so I’m very happy. I got to share this with my family and my friends. It was my mum’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to do it for her as I forgot to buy her a present!” 

As I remarked yesterday sometimes Lady Luck lends a hand at winning a tournament, George had his slice of luck;

“You need a little bit of luck to win these things. On fifteen I pulled my driver and that was the decider, because it should have gone into the water but instead it hit a tree and bounced back into the fairway. You always have this plan in mind for yourself when you’re coming down the stretch and it never goes the way you think it will. I’m very happy to have finished the job,” 

George also wins one of three places at The Open Championship, which were offered up as part of the new Open Qualifying Series that was incorporated into the Joburg Open.

Tied in second place, at -16 under par were  Justin Walters, Jin Jeong,  and  Tyrrell Hatton, who was unfortunately edged out of a place at The Open, based on world ranking.

Tyrrell was naturally disappointed to come so close;

“Beginning of the week if you gave me second place I would have put my feet up and taken it, but given the situation I’m a little disappointed. It’s bittersweet, though, because I’ve earned a place at The Open and that’s the major we’ve all dreamed of playing in since we were kids.”

Joburg Open. Edoardo Molinari & Craig Lee Share the Lead

dragon logo dark

Edoardo Molinari and Craig Lee share the lead of the Joburg Open at  Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.

Edoardo Molinari  (Getty Images)

Edoardo Molinari / Getty Images

Edoardo feels his game is in a good place as he continues his return to form by claiming a share of the Lead at the Joburg Open with a second round -4 under par 68 on the tougher East Course, for a total of -11 under par;

“It was another very good round of golf, and I hit the ball very well, maybe not as well as yesterday, but I gave myself a lot of chances, which is what you have to do around the East Course. I am very pleased with four under today. You just have to play your best. There are a few less birdie chances on the East Course, but all of the par fives are reachable, so you can make a good score.”

“I think I drove the ball really well. I’ve been driving the ball like that for the last few months and it’s making a big difference, because I am hitting a couple of clubs less than I am used to and most times I am on the fairway. It’s still two rounds to go, but I like the way I am hitting the ball. I made a few putts today, but the most important thing is to keep hitting the ball like this. I’m very happy with pretty much everything. I am very happy with my position and my game right now.”

Craig shot a -4 under par on the easier West Course to also get to -11 under par, and stay at the top of the leaderboard;

“The goal was to not fall back and there’s a strong field behind you, so it was important that I didn’t slip back. I had a pretty good chance early on to distance myself from the rest of the field, but I didn’t really capitalise on the back nine.”

 David Horsey -8 under par 63 on the West Course and the home town favorite George Coetzee -4 under par on the East Course, share third place, both just one shot back at -10 under par for the tournament.

David enjoyed the conditions and the easier course, he also mentioned this new qualifying system for The Open;

 “The conditions were a bit breezier than yesterday, but they were made for scoring out there today. I’m very pleased with the day’s work. I was a little bit more aggressive, but I made a whole lot of putts and that was it, hey presto!

“It’s an added bonus, I think it’s a good system, a good change from the R&A to do that. It makes the qualifying a bit fairer and spreads it out over a longer period rather than making it a 36-hole sprint. It’s at the back of my mind at the moment, but it’s certainly a bonus to consider near the end of the week.”

George knows the East Course and knows what to expect;

“I know what to expect and tomorrow I’ll try to stay patient and make a few putts on the way home.”

 The whole field have now played both courses during the first two rounds, and will now revert to the more demanding East Course for the conclusion of the tournament at the weekend.

Joburg Open. Four Tied at the Top.

dragon logo dark

Craig Lee is tied at the top of the leaderboard with three other players at the conclusion of the first round of the Joburg Open at the Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club in South Africa.

Craig Lee  (Getty Images)

Craig Lee / Getty Images

Craig Lee is hoping to be in line for a maiden Major Championship appearance at this year’s The Open, as he looks to improve his record in South Africa after making a superb start to the Joburg Open, scoring -7 under par 65 on the longer East Course.

 Alastair Forsyth, Edoardo Molinari and Justin Walters all carded opening rounds of -7 under par 65 on the West Course to be sharing the top spot on the leaderboard at the Joburg Open.

Craig mentioned the chance to play at The Open;

“I’ve played really nice golf for that, so I’m delighted with the score that I’ve managed to put together. I hit a lot of shots in to about 15 feet today and I didn’t hole that many of those putts, but then on the back I managed to knock in a few putts, so a game of two nines today. It’s really hard to figure out where you are in the field with two golf courses, and with the East being slightly tougher I feel like I’m in a good position. If we can keep the same level of golf then we might be able to separate ourselves from the bunch.”

“I don’t normally play well at all in South Africa, my record here is actually pretty pathetic. It’s probably a course that should have suited me in the past, because my strength has always been ball striking. I’ve never played that great around here, but my game has gotten slightly better over the years. You don’t really change your strategy, but it’s a great reward for three lucky guys who’ll get a chance to play in The Open. It’s nice to have qualifiers throughout the year and not just geared up to that 36-hole sprint that most qualifiers are. Hopefully we can keep the game up and take one of those spots.”

Justin said he may not go to The Open, even if he qualifies;

“My girlfriend is pregnant, 16 weeks, so the baby is supposed to arrive around the British Open. Going into the year when I heard that this was one of the qualifying events I really felt a sense of irony. Finally qualifying for an event I’ve wanted to play for my whole life, I can see the irony of maybe having to pull out if the baby is arriving.”

Alastair played as good as he has done in a while;

“The front nine was probably as good as I’ve played in a long time. I seemed to do everything right on the front nine, but I struggled a little on the back, where I ended up between clubs a few times. No dropped shots and seven birdies, so I’m never going to complain with that.”

This Open qualifying series is going to be exciting to watch, and this field is certainly bunched up after the first round.