Oosthuizen takes lead with flaw­less first round

The Herald (South Africa) - - Sport - Liam Del Carme

He hardly looked up to check the leader­board but by the time Louis Oosthuizen re­moved his cap for a hand­shake with his play­ing part­ners on Thurs­day, he held a re­spectable lead af­ter his open­ing round in the SA Open at Jo­han­nes­burg’s Rand­park Golf Club.

He had blazed his way around the shorter but curvier Bush­wil­low lay­out‚ card­ing a blem­ish-free round of 62 that in­cluded nine birdies on the par-71 course.

His early-af­ter­noon lead was‚ how­ever‚ trimmed in the late af­ter­noon to just one shot as Amer­i­can Kurt Ki­tayama – win­ner of last week’s Mau­ri­tius Open – ne­go­ti­ated the more de­mand­ing Firethorn lay­out in a tied course record 63.

Zam­bia’s Madal­itso Muthiya’s scorch­ing out­ward six-un­der 29 helped lay the plat­form for his open­ing-round 63. Muthiya‚ a prod­uct of the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico‚ is ranked 1,330th in the world but he be­lied that lowly po­si­tion with a flaw­less round on Thurs­day.

With half the field play­ing the longer Firethorn lay­out be­fore chang­ing around on Fri­day‚ Oosthuizen knows the score he posted has to be mea­sured in a par­al­lel uni­verse.

Among the lead­ing 26 play­ers af­ter the first round, only Ki­tayama‚ SA’s Zan­der Lom­bard who is on seven un­der‚ Jake Roos and Charl Schwartzel‚ as well as Ger­many’s Max Sch­mitt, played the Firethorn lay­out.

Still, nine-un­der is nine-un­der and Oosthuizen is sat­is­fied.

“Any­time‚ any­where nine­un­der is go­ing to feel nice.

“It was one of those rounds where you don’t look at the scores or your card‚ you just play,” Oosthuizen said.

“I have one golf course out of the way and now I can fo­cus on the main golf course for the week. It feels like a new tour­na­ment start­ing for me on Fri­day,” he said.

He will have Matt Wal­lace for com­pany again on Fri­day.

The English­man made a breezy start and is three shots off the lead, along with Zim­babwe’s Mark Wil­liams and SA’s Ty­rone Fer­reira.

Five-time cham­pion and tour­na­ment host Ernie Els was a pop­u­lar early fron­trun­ner.

His 66 left him four off the pace, along with SA’s David McIn­tyre‚ ranked 999th in the world.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.