George Coetzee has battled to convert his three European Tour wins into success on the PGA Tour, but on Thursday he sat on the cut line with a chance to earn big at the RBC Canadian Open.
The 30-year-old shot a one-over-par 73 at Glen Abbey Golf Club to share 55th place after the first round, one shot above the projected cutoff point to play the weekend.
He’ll need a solid Friday to make sure that he plays out the $ 5,9-million tournament, but has the game for it, evidenced by two top-20s at The Open Championship.
Coetzee tied for seventh place at the PGA Championship last year and he’s coming into form this week in Canada, showing promise ahead of the season’s final major. The Pretoria local has ranked within the world’s top 50 before, but is currently 119th. He’ll need to push on in Toronto this week.
Dawie van der Walt was also tied for 55th after the big man overcame a tough start on Thursday that saw him bogey four of his first six holes.
Ernie Els was the top South African and shared 21st place on two-under-par, four shots behind leaders Dustin Johnson and Luke List. Tyrone van Aswegen went round in level-par to share 41st, while Thomas Aiken shot 75 and Rory Sabbatini 77.
The South Africans are in for a big Friday, especially Coetzee, who remains determined to prove himself on the PGA Tour.