Jones Jumps to World Championship Lead
Milnerton Golf Club, 30 March 2023: Defending champion Kiefer Jones from Canada underlined his top billing after opening up a four-shot lead in the ISPS Handa IBGA World Championship after an opening round 8-over par 80 at Milnerton Golf Club on Thursday.
Just two days since his commanding six-shot triumph in the B3 division of the SA Blind Open, Jones carded his best round of the week on a typically breezy morning over the tricky links track.
After beginning with back-to-back bogeys, Jones notched his first birdie of the day at the long par-4 3rd. Bogeys at the 5th and 9th followed as the 33-year-old made the turn in 39.
A birdie-2 at the 14th was the highlight of an inward half of 41 on a day that could’ve been even better had a few more putts dropped.
“I felt like I was burning the edge with the putts a little bit, but I had my best birdie chances of the week so far. I was really happy with the ball-striking and where I was leaving shots. I need a little luck for them to go in sometimes but I’m happy with the score I had today,” said the B3 Division leader. “I had a 15-footer for eagle on the sixth, but it ran so far past that I missed the birdie putt coming back. But that’s golf.”
Jones’ score is all the more impressive when you factor in that he isn’t particularly used to contending with windy conditions.
“Typically when it’s as windy back home we tend not to go out because it’s usually a storm. I don’t normally play in this strong a wind so I was trying to keep the ball a little lower off the tee today, hitting a few more driving irons especially into the wind and reading wind into your putts too.”
Jones didn’t mince his words when asked what a victory would mean to him.
“It would mean everything. I always want to win everything, that’s why we came here, and it would feel like a job completed but it is golf. You take what you can get. So far, so good!”
Four strokes behind Kiefer is England’s John Eakin who signed for a 12-over 84 while Paul Mckenzie of Australia is a further three shots adrift.
Leon Strydom and Ernst Conradie are the leading South Africans in the B3 division as the pair carded matching rounds of 27-over par 99 to share 5th-place.
Gilford Grabs B2 Lead
England’s Andy Gilford carded an opening round of 13-over 85 in the B2 Division and with it a six-shot lead over American Tyler Cashman.
Gilford’s round featured birdies at the 2nd and 6th but 7 dropped shots in three holes around the turn undermined his final tally somewhat. Gilford was just thrilled to have participated in an event that was essentially five years in the making due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’m happy with my round today. I’ve put a lot of practice in, and South Africa has put a lot of work into this event, around five years. Through Covid everyone stuck with it so a lot of the players have been waiting for today to come. The South African people have looked after us and it’s been fantastic.”
Cashman, who won the B2 Division in the SA Blind Open on Tuesday, was happy to be in contention again. “It could have been worse,” he laughed. “There is definitely room for improvement and I’m excited to have one more round to try and improve on some of the things that went wrong. It’s such a great course, but it really shows its teeth on the back nine when the wind is up, like today.”
Sharon the player to catch in B1 division
Zohar Sharon of Israel flew his country’s flag with pride on the opening day as he signed for a round of 40-over 112 in a round highlighted by pars at the 8th and 11th holes.
Sharon will sleep on a six-stroke cushion, but he has Alejandro de Miguel in his rear-view mirror. The Spaniard won the B1 Division in the SA Blind Open by 8 shots and will be gunning for more success in his first visit to South Africa.
Pienaar in pole position
Like Jones, Women’s Division champion Charlene Pienaar from South Africa will be harbouring aspirations of a double, especially after an opening round of 29-over 101 earned her a five-stroke lead over Austria’s Karin Becker.
A trio of pars at the 6th, 13th and 16th to offset a smattering of bogeys in her opening round served as the fuel the local favourite needed to put some breathing room between her and Becker, whom she eclipsed by 16 strokes en route to the SA Blind Open title earlier in the week.
“It was really tough out there, because we teed off late when the wind became quite strong,” said the Benoni golfer. “Having played the SA Blind Open here last year helped me to better plan my shots, but execution was difficult, especially on the back nine, where we were playing into a two-club wind. It was hard to keep the ball in play. I am really happy with the end result and excited for the final round on Friday.”
Photo: Caption – Kiefer Jones tees off. Credit: Nic Bothma
ISPS Handa IBGA World Championship
Milnerton Golf Club
30-31 March 2023
80 Kiefer Jones CAN
84 John Eakin ENG
87 Paul McKenzie AUS
90 Darren Douma CAN
99 Ernst Conradie; Leon Strydom
100 Jason Bastable ENG
101 Manie Blom
103 Morne Els
105 Patrick Morgan IRL; Wally Roode IRL
108 Kevin Frost CAN
110 Andrew Patterson AUS
120 Cameron Reid AUS; Hugh Montgomery CAN
122 Lambert Badenhorst
124 Henri Therrien CAN
WOMEN GROSS B3
101 Charlene Pienaar
106 Karin Becker AUT
126 Ros Weir ENG
85 Andy Gilford ENG
91 Tyler Cashman USA
97 Steve Beevers ENG
98 Garrett Slattery; In Chan Cho KOR
104 Marc Oller ESP
105 Gerhard Bergant AUT
111 Andy Sellars ENG
114 Malcolm Elrick ESP; Owen Robinson ENG
117 Johan Kotze
125 Danny Daniels ENG
129 William Mathis USA
131 Graham Coulton AUS
DQ Paul McCormack USA
112 Zohar Sharon ISR
118 Alejandro De Miguel ESP
133 Mario Tobia USA
149 Dong Sik Im KOR
166 Ronald Boef NED
WOMEN GROSS B2
127 Jan Dinsdale IRL
74 John Eakin ENG; Andy Gilford ENG
76 Darren Douma CAN
77 Garrett Slattery; Leon Strydom
78 Paul McKenzie AUS; Ernst Conradie
79 Manie Blom; Kiefer Jones CAN
80 Andrew Patterson AUS
81 Tyler Cashman USA; Gerhard Bergant AUT
82 Morne Els
83 Jason Bastable ENG
85 Marc Oller ESP
86 Steve Beevers ENG; Patrick Morgan IRL; Owen Robinson ENG
87 In Chan Cho KOR; Alejandro De Miguel ESP; Andy Sellars ENG
89 Wally Roode IRL
90 Johan Kotze; Malcolm Elrick ESP; Zohar Sharon ISR; Danny Daniels ENG; Kevin Frost CAN
91 Cameron Reid AUS
92 Graham Coulton AUS
101 Henri Therrien CAN; Hugh Montgomery CAN; Lambert Badenhorst; Mario Tobia USA
110 William Mathis USA
121 Dong Sik Im KOR
147 Ronald Boef NED
DQ Paul McCormack USA
78 Karin Becker AUT
79 Charlene Pienaar
84 Jan Dinsdale IRL
85 Ros Weir ENG
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