A pre-round range workout helped Colin Nel to an impressive eight-under-par 64 opening round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula Golf Estate on Thursday.
Starting from the 10th this morning, Nel made two consecutive pars, which were followed by an unwanted bogey on the 12th, his third. A birdie on the next hole was followed by a par, an eagle and a birdie to turn in 33.
It was on the back nine, however, where he made serious gains. Birdies on his 11th and 12th holes catapulted him up the leaderboard and three more birdies later, and no dropped shot on the homeward nine, Nel’s spot at the summit was cemented.
‘I am very happy with the round,’ Nel said about the early lead of this R800,000 tournament.
‘I did not really hit it too good yesterday on the Pro-Am. So, this morning I was putting in work at the range and something clicked and it seems it’s all come together. I am happy with the result.’
The 34-year-old was pleased with his game at the Peter Matkovich-designed course.
‘Well, I hit the tee shots very well and, obviously, I made all the putts I looked at and that is the key thought on any golf course is hitting the tee shot well and making a few putts. Everything just clicked together today and I have been hitting fairways the last few weeks.
‘I just needed something to just come together. Also playing with the guys I played with today, Ockie [Strydom] and Combrinck Smit, we had a laugh the whole round. I think that also helped me to relax and just play the game. I am not worried about the score, I am just enjoying it.’
Nel is not planning to change anything on his game plan when he tees off for the 54-hole event.
‘It is very nice. My favourite saying is “you cannot win it on the first day, but you can lose it”. So, we are in with a chance, two more days to go. So, we will just try and concentrate on tomorrow and take it from there. I will just copy and paste what I did today.’
Neil Schietekat – the 2018 Sun City Challenge winner – finished one shot back while JC Ritchie, who is still fresh from last week’s win at the Sun Carnival City Challenge, along with Alex Haindl is a further two shots back.
First round leaderboard:
64 – Colin Nel
65 – Neil Schietekat
66 – JC Ritchie, Alex Haindl
67 – Doug McGuigan, Toto Thimba, Daniel van Tonder
68 – Thriston Lawrence, Teboho Sefatsa, Allister de Kock, Jaco Prinsloo, Titch Moore, Jabulane Mabilane
69 – Jean Hugo, David McIntyre, Estiaan Conradie, Garth Mulroy, Andre Nel, Louis Albertse, Pieter Moolman, Jonathan Agren
70 – Duane Keun, Chris Swanepoel, Jake Redman, Victor Lange, Desvonde Botes, Callum Mowat, Erhard Lambrechts, James Kamte, Michael Schutz, Herman Loubser, Mark Williams, Wallie Coetsee, Louis de Jager, Jade Buitendag
71 – Thabang Simon, Philip Eriksson, Rhys West, Jake Roos, Chris Cannon, Tyler Hogarty, Aubrey Beckley, Ruan de Smidt, Breyten Meyer, Combrinck Smit
72 – CJ du Plessis, Luke Jerling, Andrew Curlewis, Zander Lombard, Shaun Norris, Martin Rohwer, JJ Senekal, Michael Hollick, Matt Bright, Hennie Otto, Wynand Dingle, MJ Viljoen, Tyrone Ferreira, Ockie Strydom, Anthony Michael, Jacquin Hess, Fredrik From
73 – Makhetha Mazibuko, Allan Versfeld, Marc Cayeux, Andre De Decker, Hennie du Plessis, Michael Palmer, Ryan Tipping, Jason Smith, James Pennington, Ruan Conradie, Scott Campbell, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Heinrich Bruiners
74 – Anton Haig, Vaughn Groenewald, Riekus Nortje, Jean-Paul Strydom, Divan van den Heever, Stuart Smith, Desne Van Den Bergh, Kyle McClatchie, Matthew Carvell
75 – Yubin Jung, Wayne Stroebel, Merrick Bremner, Derick Petersen, Jaco Van Zyl, Lyle Rowe
76 – Luke Trocado, Damon Stephenson, Ulrich van den Berg, Rourke van der Spuy, Tyrone Ryan, Jason Viljoen, Dylan Mostert, Gideon van der Vyver, Bennie van der Merwe, Kyle Barker
77 – Roberto Lupini, Jacques P de Villiers, Marthin Scheepers, Theunis Bezuidenhout, Mohit Mediratta
78 – Christiaan Basson
79 – Francois Coetzee
80 – Stefan Engell Andersen, Sipho Bujela, Teaghan Gauche, Basil Wright
81 – Philip Geerts
82 – Keelan Africa
83 – Irvin Mazibuko
88 – Thabo Moraba