Africa Open

Wedge game key as Phelan shares Africa Open lead

When Kevin Phelan lost his card last year he explained that he had to get better with a wedge in his hands if he was to compete with the European Tour elite. Fast forward little more than three months and he's contending for the second week in a row, firing a five under 67 to claim a share of the first round lead in the Africa Open at a blustery East London Golf Club.

Wedge game key as Phelan shares Africa Open lead

McGrane snaps up Top-10 with career low

Not even the death stare he gave a photographer after missing a short birdie putt at the last could change the outcome. Damien McGrane's closing 65 in the Africa Open gave him his lowest score with respect to par in his European Tour career, not to mention a cheque for €18,950.

McGrane snaps up Top-10 with career low

McGrane on the prowl in Africa Open birdie shoot

How low can you go? On a day when 110 players in the Africa Open field broke par, it appears that Waterford Castle's Kevin Phelan may have to shoot another sub-par round just to make his first cut of 2014.

McGrane on the prowl in Africa Open birdie shoot

More pain for McGrane

Damien McGrane in action in Singapore last season. Photo Eoin Clarke/www.golffile.ieSimon Thornton celebrated his return to the European Tour with an opening four-under par 69 in the Africa Open but Damien McGrane’s poor 2011 form followed him into the New Year and a one-over 74 at East London Golf Club leaves him in danger of missing the cut.

McGrane begins his quest for confidence

Damien McGrane is keen to regain his lost confidence by making an early start to the season in South Africa this week. Photo Eoin Clarke/ Damien McGrane is so keen to forget about his 2011 nightmare that he’s starting 2012 as early as humanly possible by teeing it up in this week’s season-opening Africa Open in South Africa. In fact, the 40 year old from Kells will play five tournaments in the next six weeks as he bids to rediscover the putting touch that deserted him last season and almost cost him his card.

Clarke testing his patience

Darren Clarke will have to wait a little longer for his next European Tour win after a third round 72 left him 10 shots behind Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and Austria’s Markus Brier entering the final round of the Africa Open at East London.

The 42-year old partnered fellow Ulsterman Gareth Maybin (71 for 4 under) in the third round but took 34 putts on the greens in what is now becoming an all too familiar story for the world No 100.

Sharing 42nd place with a round to go is not Clarke’s idea of fun and in a Q&A with Michael Vlismas of the South African edition of the Times, he revealed what everyone in golf already knows - he’s not a patient man.

"Muppet" Clarke trails protege by three in Africa

Good deeds are supposed to result in some good karma but Darren Clarke found himself trailing the recipient of his generosity by three strokes after the first round of the European Tour sanctioned Africa Open at East London.

McDowell goes to career high world No 5

When Graeme McDowell beat Tiger Woods in a play-off for the Chevron World Challenge four weeks ago, he jumped four places to a career high seventh in the world.

But while he hasn’t hit an official shot in anger since then, he’s moved up another two places in the rankings, finishing the year at world No 6 before jumping one place to a career best of world No 5 in the first world ranking of 2011.

Augusta the target as Clarke begins African adventure

Darren Clarke hopes some fun in the South African sun will help his bid to return to Augusta.

The Ulsterman, 42, begins the new season in next week’s Africa Open in East London. And his first goal is to return to the Masters for the first time since 2007 by getting back into the world’s top 50 before April.

Hoey heads Irish posse in Africa Open

Michael Hoey is Irish golf's human roller coaster. One minute he's soaring high, the next he's hurtling in a death-dive towards the ground. Could 2010 be the year he finally puts his career on some sort of even keel?

Apparently not yet on the evidence of his start in the Africa Open at East London Golf Club in the Eastern Cape, where he birdied three of his last four holes to open with a five under par 68 around the 6,770-yard, par-73 track.

Clarke hoping for banner year

Getting quickly back into the groove didn’t prove to be a problem for Darren Clarke last year when he shot the lights out and finished second to Retief Goosen in the Africa Open.

But as he embarks on his 20th European Tour season in the now dual-sanctioned Sunshine Tour event, the big Ulsterman is setting off into the unknown in terms of his own game and the sport as a whole.

Thornton facing tough test following family loss

Simon Thornton will respect his father’s dying wishes by chasing his European Tour dream in South Africa.

The former Royal County Down assistant, 32, lost his father Steve after short illness on Saturday.

But he has decided to make the long trip south and tee it up in this week’s Africa Open at East London Golf Club and next week’s Joburg Open as a tribute to his dad before flying back for the funeral.

Kearney plays it cool in Africa

Niall Kearney plans to keep his cool when he makes his European Tour debut in this week’s Africa Open.

The Royal Dubliner rookie, 21, knows that getting hot under the collar is not a recipe for success as he swaps ice-bound Ireland for sweltering South Africa.

Determined to enjoy his first taste of the big time Kearney said: “Everyone says it’s really tough to make it on tour but I’m going out with the attitude that this is a year to learn and get experience.