As Luke Donald mentioned on Twitter last night, three things seem to be inevitable in life: death, taxes and Louis Oosthuizen being near the top of the leaderboard in a Major championship.
It was another sterling performance from the top-ranked South African as he put together a bogey-free round of six-under-par 64 to hold the outright lead at the end of the first day’s play. Oosthuizen has a one-shot cushion over American duo Jordan Spieth and Brian Harman.
Two shots behind Oosthuizen is a South African who got into the event as the third alternate. Dylan Frittelli only arrived in the UK on Tuesday, so it’s safe to say he’s making the most of the opportunity to play golf in its purest form. Frittelli has most likely spent most of his time off-course getting some sleep and acclimating his body to his new surroundings before heading out this afternoon for round two.
Also sitting inside the top 10 after the first day’s play, is Justin Harding. The man from Stellenbosch enjoyed an excellent round and could have found himself further up the board had it not been for an ugly double-bogey on the par-five 7 th hole.
A trio of South Africans found themselves in a tie for 19th on two under par after round one. Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Daniel van Tonder, Jaco Ahlers all mixed a decent amount of birdies with the odd dropped shot to take the total number of South Africans inside the top 20 to six, a quite remarkable feat on its own.
Erik van Rooyen and Dean Burmester are equally well placed after eighteen holes, sitting on one under and even par, respectively. JC Ritchie also finds himself inside the cut line at the end of the day and after some improved performances on the Challenge Tour in recent weeks, Ritchie will firmly believe his game is in good enough shape to make it through to the weekend.
Sitting on two over par, Ernie Els, Branden Grace and Shaun Norris have their work cut out for them and will need the weather conditions to play ball in their quest to play their way to safety. The same applies to the youngest South African in the field, Garrick Higgo, a further shot back on three over par as he struggled to get to grips with the greens on day one.
It’s still very much all to play for at Royal St Georges, so here’s hoping as many Saffas as possible make it through to the weekend when, as we know from previous Open Championships, anything is possible.
© Agence France-Presse