Andrew Curlewis had to come off the course twice due to bad weather in the opening round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship, but he didn’t let it dampen his spirit and he shot 64 to lead.
The Margate golfer made an eagle, seven birdies, and a bogey for a two-stroke advantage over Ockie Strydom and England’s Toby Tree after making the clubhouse on eight-under-par.
“The round took about four hours longer than usual,” said Curlewis, “but I can’t complain at the end of it.”
He started on the back nine at Eye of Africa and quickly got to work with four birdies in a row from the 11th. He made a further three birdies during the round, but it was his eagle at the eighth that made the difference.
“I hit some nice shots on my front nine,” he said. “But I also managed to finish nicely and get done before the weather came back.”
Tree was also affected by the weather delays, but knew how to handle the mental hiccups of waiting.
“You just try and switch off during the delay, and then warm up again, get ready for the round as if you’re starting on the first tee,” he said. “I got off to a dodgy start with a bogey on 11, and then I nearly made a hole-in-one on the next,” he said. But then I managed to make some birdies on the back nine, so it all worked out.”
SCORES (RSA unless otherwise specified):
64 – Andrew Curlewis
66 – Toby Tree (ENG), Ockie Strydom
67 – Jbe’ Kruger, Danie van Tonder, Chris Swanepoel, Jacques Kruyswijk, Oliver Bekker