Bosman among the stars running to honour Madiba
BEFORE shooting a scintillating opening round nine-under-par 62 at the South African Open yesterday, the last time Louis Oosthuizen played the Bushwillow course at Randpark Golf Club was some 18 years ago.
At that stage the course looked markedly different to what it looks like today, having undergone a redesign not too long ago, and it was also known by another name – Windsor.
It mattered little though, as the former Open champion needed only 62 strokes to post his scintillating score and lead by one stroke from Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya and last week’s winner in Mauritius, American Kurt Kitayama, after the first round.
In all, Oosthuizen had nine birdies in a blemish-free round after playing just one practice round on Wednesday on the course.
“I don’t remember much of the course, having last played it around 2000 or 2001,” said Oosthuizen prior to his first round, adding it would be crucial to make plenty of birdies early on.
After his round yesterday he said: “Of course I’m pleased. Any time, anywhere if you go nine-under it will feel nice. It was one of those rounds where you didn’t have to look at the card, you could just play.
“I drove it well, gave myself opportunities to hit it close, and I putted nicely. Birdie after birdie just came.”
He made three on the front nine for 32 and continued on his back nine with birdies at 10, 11, 12, 14, 16 and 17 for 30.
“Hitting the driver down-wind you could get it close, sometimes within 70 yards of the hole.
“And if you’re putting nicely it’s a course you can score on,” said Oosthuizen, who added he was pleased he had negotiated the Bushwillow course so well and could now focus solely on the tougher Firethorn course.
All the players this week play a round each on the Bushwillow and Firethorn courses with the final two rounds played on the Firethorn layout only over the weekend for those who make the cut.
“There’s a long way to go. I’ve got the one course out of the way and can now focus on the main course. I prefer it that way... I can now get into a rhythm hopefully on one course only.”
Muthiya, ranked 1 330th in the world, also started his tournament on the Bushwillow course and, like Oosthuizen, without a bogey, his front nine 29 including six birdies.
Kitayama, playing on the trickier Firethorn course in the afternoon, tied the course record with an eightunder-par 63 that included an eaglethree on the par-five 14th.
“I played well last week and am now kind of just riding the momentum. I’m putting well and I now need to keep the confidence up. There are probably some scoring opportunities out there on Bushwillow (which he’ll play today), and I’m playing early, so I’m happy where I am right now.”
The one other player to go really low on the Firethorn layout was Zander Lombard, who after making a bogey five on his opening hole, registered eight birdies for a score of seven-under-par 64.
Three players were a further shot back and three off the lead. England’s Matt Wallace, Zimbabwe’s Mark Williams and South Africa’s Tyrone Ferreira all recorded scores of 65, six-under-par. FORMER Comrades Marathon winner Charne Bosman will be among the elite athletes at the Mandela Remembrance Walk and Run in Pretoria on Sunday, where the event will be hosting a halfmarathon for the first time.
Bosman may be better known for her ability over the ultra-marathon distances but will still be chasing a podium place in her home town.
“I am glad the organisers incorporated a 21km race this year. It’s still a little short for me, but I am incorporating it into my long run training. I stay in Menlo Park, so this race is on my doorstep and I am looking to be very competitive and to give this race my best shot,” Bosman said.
“I participated in the 10km race last year and it’s an incredible event, a really special race. It is always nice to be part of an event that recognises the contribution of Nelson Mandela.”
In remembrance of Mandela, the walk will follow the route of his funeral cortège, starting from Kgosi Mampuru Prison through to Thaba Tswane and the Union Building.
The event will also include a five kilometre walk and 10km run.
While Bosman is more adept over the longer distances, she said she would use the half-marathon as part of her training regime.
“It’s a really nice training run and it’s rare that we get to run a race such as this through the streets of Pretoria,” Bosman said.
“Enter the race and come and have fun. It was a great experience last year, the event was really well organised and it’s a great way to end the year on the road before we all go on holiday.”
The Mandela Remembrance Walk and Run will have some star quality in the men’s elite races with 2013 South African marathon champion Benedict Moeng and former World Student Games half-marathon silver medallist Collen Mulaudzi lining up on Sunday.
Moeng, who is also a Pretoriabased athlete, said he will be using the 10km race as part of his speed training as he targets a marathon spot for next year’s IAAF World Championships in Doha.
“It will be a pleasure to run this race in honour of Madiba, who did such great things for our country,” Moeng said.
Mulaudzi will be among the favourites in the men’s halfmarathon race, which he will use as preparations for next month’s South African cross country trials.
“While it’s important preparation time for me and I will be looking to run a time of around 64-65 minutes, this event for me is about honouring Madiba’s name,” Mulaudzi said.