Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Vaughn Groenewald putted from the rough on the fringe of the eighth green on Wednesday and sank the ball for eagle to move to six-under-par and the lead of the opening round of the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf event at Gardener Ross Golf and Country Estate.
The Sunshine Tour’s winter swing got underway after a break after the last event of the summer – the Vodacom Championship in February – with the first in a series of eight tournaments around the country which acknowledge the contribution made to golf in South Africa by Ernie Els.
At the end of the opening round, there were three players who had yet to complete their rounds as darkness fell.
Groenewald started his round on the 10th, and, with two birdies and a bogey, his halfway 35 gave no indication of what lay ahead.
But he came home in five-under 31 with four birdies and that eagle to hold a one-stroke lead over James Kamte, Charl Coetzee and world number 22 Charl Schwartzel.
“I have been hitting the ball well, and putting badly,” said Groenewald. “I don’t think I was better than 32 putts in a round through the summer.
“But I got rid of my old putter, and the new one seems to have made a difference. It was 26 around here today, and that helps.”
He also was pleased to get a good first round under his belt: “I have been starting poorly, and after a 73 or 74, I was always playing catch-up,” he said.
Schwartzel was the model of consistency, and, but for a late start for him which left him putting on the greens at their bumpiest, he might have had the lead.
“I should have birdied the last two coming in, but I missed two short putts as the greens got really bad,” he said.
But he only flew in to South Africa last night after his first Masters last week, and was functioning on very little sleep: “It’s a good jetlag 67,” he said. “That’s the way you creep up the leaderboard. Eliminate mistakes and make birdies when you can.”
Kamte hadn’t played the back nine, but he opened with a 31 on the front. He found his two birdies on the back balanced with two drops. “It will be better tomorrow, but I would have taken five-under before the round if I’d been offered it,” he said.
Coetzee had no such problems with the back nine, on which he started, and made three birdies to turn in 33. A bogey on three set him back, but he made three more birdies on the way in for his 67.
Dion Fourie and qualifier PG van Zyl shared fifth at four-under 68.
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