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Tshwane Open. 2 Tied at the Top, Play Suspended.

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Two players were tied at the top of leaderboard at the Tshwane Open when play was suspended on the  1st day at Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate in South Africa.

Simon Dyson  (Getty Images)

Simon Dyson / Getty Images

Simon Dyson birdied his last four holes to grab the clubhouse lead with his completed, bogey free, first round of -7 under par 65. He is joined at the top of the Tshwane Open leaderboard by Trevor Fisher Jnr, who has yet to finish his round. Trevor has completed 16 holes and will return to the course at 0645 tomorrow to finish his first round, with the second round beginning at 0700.

Simon explained how he played, and how his putting has improved;

“It was really nice, it’s a lovely start. It’s my lowest round in a good few years, especially on the first day. It just puts you in a nice frame of mind, a good stead, and sets it up nicely to have a good weekend. I holed a good six footer for par at the first and then about a 40 footer for birdie at the second and that was it, I was off and running.

I had made three really good up and downs on the holes before the 15th. I drove it in the bunker down 12 and then missed the green left and chipped it to about ten feet and rolled that one in for par. On the next I hit a good shot and it just released and rolled into the bunker and I upped and downed that, rolled in about an eight footer for par. I flew the green at 14 and then made a really good up and down. 

“You just kick on after that and next I had the par five, where you always have a chance. Putting has been the let-down for the last few weeks, but me and my caddie had a chat about what I’m doing wrong. We spent about an hour and a half on the putting green yesterday and I managed to get a good feel for it.”

Trevor likes playing at home in South Africa;

“I got into a nice steady run with four birdies in a row on the front nine, which was my back nine, unfortunately I dropped one at the last, but I can’t complain too much with seven under. The course is pretty soft after all the rain we’ve had and it depends on what happens this afternoon, but if you drive it well then you’ll have a lot of looks at birdie. My game feels in good shape coming off the back of a good result in South Africa a couple of weeks ago. I don’t know what it is, I just enjoy playing down here and I seem to play quite well.”

Ross Fisher and four more South Africans, Erik Van Rooyen, Jared Harvey, Darren Fichardt and Danie van Tonder are tied in third position, all on -6 under par under. Darren and Danie have yet to complete their first rounds.

Worlds Toughest Par 3. Million Dollars for a Hole In One.

Retief Goosen inspects the 19th hole at the Legend Golf & Safari Resort.Extreme 19th: The World’s Toughest Par 3 
Legend Golf & Safari Resort - South Africa
The tee is set 1,410 feet above the green on Hanglip Mountain.
From the base of the mountain to the back of the green is 1,312 feet.
In golf terms, that’s a 437-yard par-3, with a vertical drop of 470 yards.
Without getting all geeked out, as this insane shot relates to the laws of physics
and how the ball will travel on quite an extreme arc, it plays about 260-270 yards due to the vertical drop.
Worlds Toughest par 3 1
Round of 18 including lunch:
$70 per player
Extreme 19th per foursome: $1,060
That extreme price does come with a few perks.
Players get a helicopter ride to the tee and back down after hitting,
a souvenir cap and glove, and a DVD of their play on the hole.
The coolest part:
Each player is given six balls with tracking devices,
since losing sight of a ball hit from 1,410 feet up is pretty likely.
There’s a prize worth over $1 million for any player that makes a hole in one.
The money has yet to be claimed.
Eight players, however, have made birdies, and 96 pars have been recorded, including many professional golfers.
Pagraig Harrington was the first person to make a 3, back in 2008.
The highest recorded score, according to the course’s website, is a 23.
And there are hundreds of other players whose scores say “NR.”
We assume that’s short for “Way too many to count.”

European Tour. Volvo Golf Champions. Louis Lifts Trophy.

 

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Louis Oosthuizen lifts the European Tour Volvo Golf Champions trophy at Durban Country Club in South Africa. A final round of -4 under par 68 was good enough to see off the competition.

Oosthuizen starts 2014 in style

Louis and some local fans / Getty Images

Louis had some nervy moments towards the end of his round, a poor shot on 16 where he was lucky to be able to chip out, but still made bogey, and then he needed to make a birdie on the last to win;

“After my tee shot on sixteen I was lucky that I could chip it out and nearly made a great par. But when I stood over the ball on seventeen I saw that Branden had made birdie on eighteen so I knew that second shot was crucial to give myself a good opportunity and I hit it really close.

“And then eighteen, everyone thinks you just need to make a birdie but around that green it’s not easy and luckily I was far enough past where I could pitch it back into the grain and get it close. It was nerve-wracking through the round but I finished strong and I’m just happy that I got it done. It’s an awesome start for the year. Confidence-wise it’s great. I haven’t really played well last year with all the injuries so hopefully I can build from here on and just go better next time.”

Branden Grace captured second place, he also carded a -4 under par 68 in his final round, finishing with a -11 under par total, one shot adrift. He admitted it was terrible watching Louis pass him on the final green;

 “It was terrible watching it. But the winner at the end of the week is going to be the true champion and he played well so he deserves it. I thought I played some superb golf today. I let a couple slip out there which was unfortunate but if you had told me my first event I would start off with a second place, I would have taken it. This really gives you a push in the right direction so I’m really stoked.”

Tommy Fleetwood was the leader at the start of play, but he unfortunately could only produce a par last round of  72, which dropped him into a tie for third place with Joost Luiten, both at -10 under par.

Tommy said he hit the ball better off the tee, but it was the rest of his game that let him down at the crucial stage;

“Today was the best I have hit it off the tee all week and it was a shame the rest of the game let me down. After the long birdie putt on the second my putter went cold and it was not meant to be. It’s always great when you can be leading going into the final round of such a big event. I could have been four under, shot 66 and finished on the same score and not learned half as much. You have to take the positives and I have finished tied third in the first event and overall it’s been a very good week.”

Padraig Harrington and French duo Raphaël Jacquelin and Victor Dubuisson were another shot back on -9 under par.

Nelson Mandela Championship. Dowie Delights South Africa.

Dowie Van Der Walt delights South Africa by winning the Nelson Mandela Championship at Mount Edgecombe Country Club.

Dawie Van Der Walt  (Getty Images)

Dowie Van Der Walt with the Nelson Mandela Trophy / Getty Images

Dowie shot a final round of -4 under par 66, for a tournament total of -15 under par in the Nelson Mandela Championship. The  tournament was shortened to 54 holes mainly due to persistent rain and also the need to complete the tournament before Nelson Mandela’s funeral on Sunday.

As you can imagine Dowie was over the moon with his tow shot victory;

“It’s obviously really special, making you a part of history. Winning The Nelson Mandela at this time, when it’s sad for everyone, everyone is mourning and tomorrow’s the big day, it means a lot and it’s something I can keep close to my heart for ever. I haven’t been in that good form, I’ve been struggling with an injury, so this is almost overwhelming. To win the last event of the year is going to make Christmas a lot more fun. Once I got that birdie on 15, I was pretty comfortable that the tournament was mine to lose. I wasn’t sure what the guys behind me were doing, but I knew that they would have to go for birdies if they were to force a play-off. So I was pretty relaxed coming home, it helped that I had been in that position before.”

Tied in second place were Mathew Baldwin and Jorge Campillo, both on -13 under par, two shots adrift of the leader. Romain Wattel was fourth at -12 under par, while Daniel Brooks who held the lead starting the day dropped six shots in his first seven holes which left the title race wide-open and condemned him to tie for 11th place at -8 under par.

 

Nelson Mandela Championship, A 59 before the Rain halted Play Again.

Jorge Campillo and Colin Nel both recorded second rounds of 59 in the rain-washed Nelson Mandela Championship, before play was halted once again at the Mount Edgecombe Country Club in South Africa.

Jorge Campillo  (Getty Images)

Jorge Campillo / Getty Images

Despite their heroic efforts Jorge and Colin are still behind the tournament leader Daniel Brooks, and he has yet to complete his second round, and has added another four birdies to his total in this 54 hole event.

Daniel still occupies the top spot at -12 under par, and will have the chance to extend his lead over the last seven holes when play resumes at 06:00 on Saturday morning.

Jorge, who is tied in second place at -11 under par, and is bidding for his first European Tour title was happy with his play, especially the way he finished the round;

 “We play other par 70s on Tour, but you still have to shoot 59 and I’m pretty happy with the way I finished. I was ten under after 14 holes and had two tough par fours and a tough par three coming in. I was never close to 59 before, but in the KLM Open I was eight under with three holes to go on a par 70. Finishing with three birdies would have put me on 59, but I finished par-par-bogey. That helped me a lot today, because finishing well was important and I did it.”

Mathew Baldwin is one of the three players tied at -11 under par, after his second round -8 under par 62, and hopes tiredness will not come into the reckoning;

“I don’t think tiredness comes into it , what does come into it is the fact that you’re playing a lot of holes close together. For example, I played 21 holes in a short space of time today and by the time I finished I was quiet tired, so getting some rest in will be important for tomorrow.”

Dowie Van Der Walt is the third player on -11 under par, with World number 49 Brandon Grace just two shots off the lead at the moment at – 10 under par.

Brandon spoke about his feelings for Nelson Mandela;

“I feel like this week shows what happens when you make those few extras putts. I’m right up there again and it’s all about the putting. If I can keep rolling the ball well then hopefully tomorrow will be one more memory of lifting a trophy. It would be great to finish the year off with a win. Mandela is one of the reasons I am here, a lot of people think I’m here for the top 50, but I think I’ve secured that for the year. Coming here you’re trying to get the win for Madiba, not that it will make everything better for the country, but hopefully it will put a little smile on some people’s faces. Maybe if you lift the trophy at the end you can say ‘this is for him’.”

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Brilliant Björn Valiant.

Valiant Thomas Björn triumphed in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Thomas Bjorn  (Getty Images)

Thomas Björn / Getty Images

Thomas carded a super -7 under par 65 to overcome a similar super score from Sergio Garcia in the final round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City. The difference was two shots as Thomas finished on -20 under par and Sergio tied on -18 under par in second place with Jamie Donaldson. Jamie could only manage a -2 under par final round.

Thomas spoke about his special day, and the two Eagles on the back nine;

“This is right up there with the best days of my career. You never forget your first victory, and then my win against Tiger in Dubai when I went toe-to-toe with him for four days and came out top was special, but winning here in the way that I did against a field of this quality is up there. I knew I had to shoot something low and then see what Jamie was doing. It turned out that it was Sergio and every time I saw a leaderboard he was making birdies. I am very proud of the way I played today,  it’s a very special day in my career.Obviously having two eagles on the back nine on a Sunday doesn’t happen very often. The shot into 14 was a bit fortunate but that’s what happens when you win golf tournaments, I guess.”

Sergio finally succumbed to a bogey on the 16th hole;

“I tried to be aggressive all day and drove the ball well, I had just one bad swing on 16. But Thomas played unbelievably and I needed to keep birdieing if I was to have a chance.”

Poor old Jamie Donaldson must have wondered what hit him, he started the day with a three shot lead, and then lost by two.

Henrik Stenson was in fourth place at -16 under par, shooting a -5 under par 67, on a day that was full of low scores.

 

 

Nedbank Golf Challenge. Donaldson Dominates.

Jamie Donaldson dominates at the Nedbank Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City, South Africa.

Jamie Donaldson  (Getty Images)

Jamie Donaldson / Getty Images

Jamie carded a -5 under par 67 in round three of the Nedbank Golf Challenge to lead the tournament at -16 under par, a three shot advantage going into the final round. It would have been a shot more had he not bogeyed the 17th hole, he said he was between clubs;

“I was in between clubs and it put me in trouble but in the end I came out with a good five. I’m still in a strong position and I’ve got to go out there tomorrow and play really good golf.  It’s a tough field, a lead of three doesn’t mean much among these guys.”

Thomas Björn and Ryan Moore are tied in second place at -13 under par, Thomas thinks he still has a chance tomorrow in the final round, if he can go low;

“I got off to a good start and played solid golf. That’s what you need to do on this course. If I can shoot 66 or 67 tomorrow, I’ll give myself a chance. But you have to play sensible golf, not try and chase down the leader.”

Ryan, a recent winner on the US PGA Tour, carded a -3 under par 33 front nine, before picking up two further shots on the back to complete a -5 under par 67 third round.

Five shots off the lead at -11 under par for the tournament are Thongchai Jaidee, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.

Henrik will be ruing his compounded error, twice finding the water en route to a double bogey seven at the par four ninth hole.

Sergio produced one of the shots of the day, to chip in for an Eagle 3 at the par five 14th hole, and followed that with birdies at 16 and 17. While Thongchai went bogey free in his round of -6 under par 66.

Hong Kong Open. Jbe Kruger Cruising At The Top.

Jbe Kruger, from South Africa, is cruising along at the top of the leaderboard at  the Hong Kong Open in China.

Jbe Kruger  (Getty Images)

Jbe Kruger / Getty Images

Jbe required only 30 shots to complete the back nine and in so doing grabbed the halfway lead at the Hong Kong Open, with his -4 under par round and -7 under par total. He said of the days events;

“Our country lost a real-life hero. I played well, I probably swung it the best I’ve swung it in a long time. I’m excited and I’m playing better for a change. It’s fun to play relaxed golf for a change and see what unfolds.”

Qualifying School graduate Stuart Manley is in second place, shooting consecutive rounds of -3 under par, for a respectable  -6 under par total. He was on course for a share of the lead until he hit his approach into the water at the tenth, his last hole, and signed for a bogey;

“It’s really enjoyable, I started a bit scrappily but after the first few holes I played lovely. It’s 36 holes, there’s a lot of golf to go and a lot of good players around me so I’ll have to play well this weekend.”

Alex Cejka, Shiv Kapur and Wade Ormsby are tied for third place on -5 under par, with defending champion Miguel Angel Jiménez just outside the top ten.

Miguel said the greens were tricky and his magical round ground to a halt;

“I played very well with birdies on the 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th and 17th and a birdie on number three, but then the magic stopped. The greens are very fast, you have to take care. I three-putted the fifth, but I am happy, I don’t feel like I putted badly but it happens. I thought about a low score after the first few holes, but you have to respect this golf course. It’s not very long but you have to get the ball in place every single time and you have to be very careful with the greens because they are firm and fast.”

Alfred Dunhill Championship. Charl Charging Towards Title Defense.

A determined Charl Schwartzel is charging towards his defense of the Alfred Dunhill Championship title at Leopards Creek Golf Club in South Africa.

Charl Schwartzel  (Getty Images)

Charl Schwartzel / Getty Images

Charl fired in a third round of -5 under par 67, to take a two shot lead going in to the final round of his defence of his Alfred Dunhill Championship Title. His tournament total is -13 under par following his bogey free third round effort.

Charl said he felt comfortable on this course, and if he had putted better the lead would have been greater;

“It’s one of those courses where I’m comfortable with all of the right lines. A lot of golf courses you need to hit it on lines that you feel awkward with, but this course is mostly right in front of you. And I think it helps that I’ve had good success here too. If I had really putted well today it could have been very low, the good thing is that I know it’s there. It very easily could have been low, but it was still a solid round of golf and this is still a tough golf course. I felt a lot more comfortable and consequently I was hitting a lot more positive shots. I felt a little more in control than the last few days. Sometimes those things are unexplainable. It’s just human nature and you go through those waves. I hope a good round like this picks me up and I go out tomorrow and have the same.”

England’s Richard Finch is the player closest to the leader, he is at -11 under par after he also carded a bogey free -5 under par 67 third round. Richard lost his European Tour card after a disappointing 2013 season and failed to regain it at Qualifying School, but a victory here at Leopards Creek would hand him the reprieve of a place on The 2014 Race to Dubai. Although the prize of a reprieve is within sight, he has no illusions about the task in front of him;

“If he goes out and shoots a 65, it’s done and dusted, he’s one of the best players in the world.”

Victor Riu, in third place at -10 under par, would have been level with Richard in second place but for a bogey six on the 18th. He explained the circumstances of the unfortunate, unnecessary and costly mistake;

“I took a pitching wedge in instead of a 56-degree wedge, I went right over the pin, and I had a very difficult putt from off the green, so I ended up three-putting.”

 

Tshwane Open, 3 Rounds Completed. 4 Tied at the Top.

After three rounds of the weather interrupted  inaugural Tshwane Open, there are four players tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate, in South Africa.

Darren Fichardt  (Getty Images)

Darren Fichardt / Getty Images

Darren Fichardt, the first round leader of the Tshwane Open, finished day three with a hat-trick of birdies to be part of a four-way tie for the lead. Darren rejoined the leaders with a brilliant third round of -8 under par, 64 and a tournament total of -16 under par.

Darren said he had been upset by his poor second round, and was determined to catch up with the leaders;

” I was upset with yesterday’s round and I fell back to four behind. I wanted to catch that up and get into the mix for tomorrow. I’m just hitting the right shots at the right time and making crucial putts. If I do hit a bad shot I recover from it and that’s what adds up to good scores, so I’m very happy with my game right now.”

Tied with Darren at -16 under par are; Charl Coetzee, Dawie Van Der Walt, all South Africans, and Mark Tullo from Chile. Mark looks to be the only foreign player who could upset an all African top three finish. There is always a chance that American Peter Uihlein could also make a last round charge, he is currently alone in fifth position at -14 under par.

Dowie thinks that making bogies is bad, and you would have to make two birdies just to catch up again;

” It’s good not to make bogies, if you make one then you have to make two birdies to be under par. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day, the course is fairly wide, so it’s really about hitting it close and making some putts.”

Charl has admitted that it is tough to be a front-runner, but he is trying to enjoy it;

” This is a new experience for me and I’m loving it, so I’m just trying to enjoy it. Who knows what happens tomorrow? Enjoying it is the most important thing because it keeps me nice and calm, nice and relaxed and I can just focus on what I need to do. I felt like I played really nicely on the back nine, although I felt like the bogies were a little unnecessary.”

With only two shots covering the first five players, tomorrow is going to be a shoot-out. Last man standing with no mistakes will win the inaugural title, Tshwane Open.

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