Christiaan Bezuidenhout opened with a five-under-par 67 to place him in a six-way tie for the first-round lead of the South African Open as he chases back-to-back victories on the Sunshine Tour and European Tour’s South African Swing.
NINES HAVE BEEN SWAPPED THIS WEEK
The winner of last week’s Alfred Dunhill Championship picked up where he left off at Leopard Creek as he made six birdies and only one bogey at the Gary Player Country Club on Thursday to join fellow South Africans Dean Burmester, Jacques Kruyswijk and Ruan Korb as well as Austria’s Matthias Schwab and Italian Aron Zemmer in the lead.
“I got off to a nice start and turned five under par, then I birdied my 10th hole to get to six under,” said Bezuidenhout, who started on the 10th tee.
But with the nines swapped for this tournament, he faced the more difficult nine as his second nine, and which was compounded by a strong wind which seemed to also put a chill on his putter.
“The putter just went cold. I just couldn’t make the putts coming in. The wind also picked up which made it more tricky. But it’s nice to have a good start and hopefully I can keep the momentum going and put myself in a good position come Sunday.”
The leaders are one stroke clear of Frenchman Matthieu Pavon and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli.
JARVIS AND MAAS LEAD FREDDIE TAIT CHALLENGE
Frittelli also said the wind stopped the momentum he had built up to get to seven under through 10 holes before three bogeys coming in.
“It was a tale of two nines. I played really well on the first nine and everything was just flawless, and then I played poorly on the back.
“The wind got up which made it tricky. But it was a decent start. As long as I’m within two or three shots going into the final round I feel like I have a good shot.”
GolfRSA’s Casey Jarvis and Christiaan Maas both made strong claims for the Freddie Tait trophy as they each opened with rounds of 1-over par 73 to lead the amateur scoring on day one.
Leading scores after Round 1 of the European Tour/Sunshine Tour co-sanctioned SA Open at the Gary Player CC (RSA unless noted):
67 – Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Dean Burmester, Ruan Korb, Jacques Kruyswijk, Matthias Schwab (AUT), Aron Zemmer (ITA)
68 – Dylan Fritelli, Matthieu Pavon (FRA)
69 – Wilco Nienaber, Neil Schietekat, Toby Tree (ENG), Justin Walters
70 – Jaco Ahlers, Oliver Bekker, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano (ESP), Stephen Ferreira (POR), Scott Jamieson (SCO), Hennie du Plessis, JC Ritchie, Martin Rohwer, MJ Viljoen