Bos­man among the stars run­ning to honour Madiba

The Star Late Edition - - SPORT - @ock­ertde

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.

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