Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Charl Schwartzel called it “a good jet-lagged 67”, and it places him one stroke off the lead after Wednesday’s first round of the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf Tour at Gardener Ross Golf and Country Estate.
Having only landed in South Africa on Tuesday on his way back from The Masters, Schwartzel did what he does best in eliminating the mistakes and making five solid birdies to place him in a group of players chasing the six under lead of Vaughn Groenewald.
“I actually played okay out there. I missed two short putts coming in, but 67 is pretty solid around a course I’ve never played before,” said Schwartzel.
Groenewald was delighted to have made a good start in a tournament, which has been his biggest challenge over the last few months.
His round of six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys was underpinned by an improvement in his putting form.
“My most important thing is a good first round. I usually kill myself there and have to fight back. But with a start of six under I’ve set myself up nicely and need to keep going from here.
“But my putting was the key. The last three tournaments I’ve hit the ball great but putted poorly. I’m still hitting the ball as good as I was, but now I’m putting better as well.”
Groenewald was spared having to pre-qualify for this event, having won before on this series in 2006 and also in Pretoria. That was his first victory in 11 years as a professional, and also his most emphatic as he went on to triumph by six strokes.
And he was quick to point out another reason for his place at the top of the leaderboard. “I’ve haven’t had a drop of alcohol for 10 months now.”
Charl Coetzee and James Kamte are also one behind on five under, while multiple European Tour winner James Kingston made his return to the game after a five-week rest with a round of one-under-par 71.
Golf Scores (RSA unless specified):
-6 - Vaughn Groenewald
-5 - Charl Coetzee, James Kamte, Charl Schwartzel
-4 - Dion Fourie, PG van Zyl
-3 - Jean Hugo, Des Terblanche, Adilson da Silva (BRA), Oliver Bekker
-2 - Ryan Thompson, George Coetzee, Jaco Van Zyl, Marc Cayeux (ZIM)
-1 - Anthony Michael, Merrick Bremner, James Kingston
Par - Neil Schietekat, Clinton Whitelaw, Tyrone Mordt, Brandon Pieters, Andrew Curlewis, Peter Karmis, Jaco Ahlers, Albert Pistorius, Keenan Davidse, Neil Cheetham (ENG), Ulrich van den Berg 
+1 - Titch Moore, Chris Swanepoel, Cameron Johnston, Johan du Buisson, Stuart Clark (WAL), Mark Murless, Prinavin Nelson
+2 - Kevin Stone, Toto Thimba (Jnr), Jacques Blaauw, Doug McGuigan, Chris Williams, Eugen Marugi, Ryan Tipping, TC Charamba (ZIM), Darren Fichardt, Warren Abery, Shaun Norris, Christiaan Basson, Attie Schwartzel 
+3 - Garry Hill, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jake Roos, Willie van der Merwe, Omar Sandys, Ryan Clarke, Steve Basson, Andre Cruse
+4 - Thabang Simon, Brett Liddle, Reggie Adams, Bradford Vaughan, Teboho Sefatsa 
+5 - Adrian Ford, Grant Veenstra, Lindani Ndwandwe
+6 - Steve van Vuuren
+7 - Don Black, Louis de Jager, David Hewan, Grant Muller
+8 - Gary Baynham, Heinrich Bruiners
+9 - Divan van den Heever