Golf

Joburg Open 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2014

Joburg Open 2014: Daily Leaderboard Analysis, Highlights and More

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    Charl Schwartzel
    Charl SchwartzelStuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Casual golf fans in the United States may not know much about the 2014 Joburg Open from the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa, but it is one of the most important events on the European tour.

    The three top finishers in the Joburg Open that have not already qualified for July’s Open Championship will earn their places in the field for that marquee event.

    That’s what you’d call high stakes.

    With Day 1 and Day 2 being played on two courses (West and East Courses) and more than 200 competitors fighting to make the cut, this is one of the largest professional golf tournaments in the world.

    The top 65 scores and ties will advance to the final two days of the event, and Day 3 and Day 4 will be played exclusively on the East Course.

    While the field lacks many of the top names American golf fans have come to know and love, South African star Charl Schwartzel has once again entered the Joburg Open and is looking for his third overall victory in the tournament.   

    Schwartzel won in 2010 and 2011, but failed to take home the victory in each of the last two seasons. With a return to his home country and the desire to build momentum for the rest of the season, expect the South African to contend this year.

    With such a deep field and the beautiful courses, this year’s Joburg Open will be one of the best ever.

    American and international fans will be treated to an excellent event.

     

    *All stats and information via EuropeanTour.com.

Day 4 Results

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Final Leaderboard

    Pos.PlayerFinal Score
    1George Coetzee -19
    T2 Tyrrell Hatton -16
    T2 Yeon-jin Jeong -16
    T2Justin Walters-16
    T5Andy Sullivan-15
    T5Alvaro Quiros -15
    T5Matthew Baldwin-15
    T5Thomas Aiken-15
    9Danie Van Tonder -14
    T10 Seve Benson-13
    T10Ross Fisher-13
    T10Robert-Jan Derksen -13
    T10Anthony Wall-13
    T10David Horsey-13
    T10 Roope Kakko -13

    *Table and scores via EuropeanTour.com.

     

    Day 4 Recap

    South African golf sensation George Coetzee was able to win his first career European Tour event when he was victorious at the 2014 Joburg Open.

    Coetzee shot a six-under-par 66 on the fourth day of competition and managed to finish the tournament at 19 under par overall. Fellow South African Justin Walters, England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Korea’s Jin Jeong all finished three shots off the pace at 16 under par.

    The South African star spoke to EuropeanTour.com about his victory:

    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!

    Coetzee managed 24 top-10 finishes during his career—he is 27 years old—but has never been able to get over the hump and win a tournament title.

    That was until Sunday.

    The victory gives Coetzee the automatic bid into the Open Championship (along with Jeong and Walters) and a chance to carry the momentum he has built into one of the most important major tournaments.

    Coetzee won €206,050 for this event.

Day 3 Results

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

     

     

    Day 3 Joburg Open Leaderboard

    Pos.

    Player

    Total 

    Day 3 Score

    T1

    Thomas Aiken

    -17

    63

    T1

    Justin Walters

    -17

    64

    3

    Jin Jeong

    -15

    66

    4

    Roope Kakko

    -14

    67

    T5

    George Coetzee

    -13

    69

    T5

    Alastair Forsyth

    -13

    68

    7

    David Horsey

    -12

    70

    8

    Edoardo Molinari

    -11

    72

     

    Recap

    Two native players share the 54-hole lead at the Joburg Open in Johannesburg, with Thomas Aiken and Justin Walters tied at 17 under par overall through three rounds of play after Saturday's action.

    While Walters' round of eight-under 64 was impressive as he searches for his maiden victory on the European Tour in this co-sanctioned event with the Sunshine Tour, Aiken was a little better in posting a sensational 63.

    Aiken took 28 putts versus the 29 Walters had, and both homeland standouts missed just one green in regulation in Round 3. If that level of ball-striking continues, Sunday should foster a thrilling duel for the top prize.

    However, given how conditions lent to those types of scores being posted, it wouldn't be wise to count out Jin Jeong. An up-and-coming star from South Korea, Jeong is all of 24 years old and is just two shots off the pace after a third-round 66.

    That trio of players has a lot on the line coming down the stretch of this tournament, as all three would qualify for the Open Championship if the results hold as they are:

    Day 3 @JoburgOpen_: Aiken & @jwaltersgolf tie for lead on -17. Jeong is 3rd on -15. If it stays as it is they'll be playing in #TheOpen

    — The Open (@The_Open) February 8, 2014

    In other subplots, an additional South African in George Coetzee is more talented than his finishes have often shown, and he's within striking distance after birdieing five of his last six holes en route to a 69 on Saturday.

    Past Team Europe Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari is finally fit enough to compete at the level he's capable of. Although he's likely shot himself out of the running for a win after a level par 72, a bounce-back effort in the last 18 holes will secure him a necessary strong result.

     

Day 2 Results

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    Kamran Jebreili/Associated Press

    The second day of competition is officially in the books, with the top of the leaderboard looking as follows:

     Day 2 Joburg Open Leaderboard

    Pos.

    Player

    Total 

    Day 2 Score

    T1

    Edoardo Molinari

    -11

    68

    T1

    Craig Lee

    -11

    67

    T3

    David Horsey

    -10

    63

    T3

    George Coetzee

    -10

    68

    T5

    Jin Jeong 

    -9

    69

    T5

    Justin Walters

    -9

    70

    T5

    James Heath

    -9

    68

    T5

    Andrew Georgiou

    -9

    65

    T5

    Alastair Forsyth

    -9

    70

    T5

    Roope Kakko

    -9

    64

    T5

    Danny Willett

    -9

    65

    T12

    Edouard Dubois

    -8

    70

     
    *Scores via EuropeanTour.com.

    A change at the top of the leaderboard was the big story of the day in the second round, as Edoardo Molinari and Craig Lee seized a share of the lead with impressive finishes.

    Molinari told EuropeanTour.com that he was pleased with the way he was striking the ball in the second round of action:

    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.

    As for Lee, finishing the day tied for the lead has to be welcome news considering he has missed the cut on his last five trips to South Africa.

    The other major storyline of the day is the absolute tear that David Horsey was on. He shot an impressive 63 in the second round and is squarely in the race for the tournament's title.

    He got off to an incredible start and tallied six unanswered birdies over the opening 14 holes.

    Not surprisingly, Horsey was pleased with his round (via EuropeanTour.com):

    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!

    With two rounds to go and a crowded leaderboard, it will be worth tuning in to see who brings home the championship and prize money. Keep it locked here for updates.

Day 1 Results

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    Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

    Day 1 Joburg Open Top 10 Leaderboard

    Pos.

    Player

    Day 1

    Strokes

    T1

    Alastair Forsyth

    -7

    64

    T1

    Justin Walters

    -7

    64

    T1

    Edoardo Molinari

    -7

    64

    T1

    Craig Lee

    -7

    65

    T5

    James Heath

    -6

    66

    T5

    Hennie Otto

    -6

    65

    T5

    George Coetzee

    -6

    65

    T5

    Robert-Jan Derksen

    -6

    65

    T5

    Danie Van Tonder

    -6

    65

    T5

    Jin Jeong

    -6

    65

    T5

    Graham Van der merwe

    -6

    65

    T5

    Edouard Dubois

    -6

    65

    *Scores via EuropeanTour.com.

     

    Day 1 Recap

    The madness that is the opening rounds of the 2014 Joburg Open have started, and Day 1 lived up to the expectations. Most golf fans expected an unpredictable start with such a deep field, and several unknown players have launched themselves onto the leaderboard.

    EuropeanTour.com provided the highlights from Day 1.

    Scottish player Alastair Forsyth leads the field after Day 1 at seven under par. He is tied with three other competitors fighting for the top spot, including Justin Walters, Edoardo Molinari and Craig Lee, all of whom are seven under par for the opening day as well.

    Euan McLean of The Daily Record commented on Forsyth’s start:

    Great start by Alastair Forsyth. Seven under par round of 64 to lead the Joburg Open.

    — Euan McLean (@Euanmc1) February 6, 2014

    There is also an eight-way tie for fifth place with a large group of players (including well-known star George Coetzee) that have all racked up an impressive mark of six under par and are still very much serious contenders to steal the show on Day 2.

    South African standout Charl Schwartzel had a solid day, but did not live up to the lofty expectations set upon the two-time winner of this tournament. While a three-under-par 69 is nothing to scoff at, there is no doubt that he left a few chances on the course that he should have benefited from.

    As long as Schwartzel steps up on Day 2, there is little doubt that he will make the cut and contend for the tournament title over the weekend.

    Schwartzel has the benefit of playing with Richard Sterne, and as golf insider Michael Vlismas explains, the domination in this twosome is unmatched:

    . @CA_Schwartzel and @SterndogRichard grouped together in 1st 2 rnds of #JoburgOpen. Together they've won here 4 times in last 6 years.

    — Michael Vlismas (@MichaelVlismas) February 5, 2014

    The action from Day 1 had every golf fan glued to the play on the beautiful courses in South Africa, and this is shaping up to be one of the most interesting tournaments on the European Tour this season.

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