George Coetzee had nothing to complain about after he raced to an untainted 11-under-par 61 opening round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Simola Golf and Country Estate on Thursday.
Coetzee is playing his first Sunshine Tour event for this season and after what’s been a solid year for him in Europe, he wasted no time in showing off his class in Knysna.
He was three-under after his opening four holes thanks to an eagle on the 12th, which was his third hole and a birdie on the next hole. A par on 14 was followed back-to-back birdies and a par later, Coetzee found more joy, making an eagle there to turn in 29.
‘I enjoyed that,’ he said after his round.
‘It’s not every day you get to play that well and when you do, you still have to finish the round. I would have loved the one (birdie) on eight just to have a chance on that magic number (59) on the ninth; I had one shot at it and I missed the green. Otherwise, it was good fun.’
That eagle on the 18th was followed by another pair of consecutive birdies after the turn. He birdied the fourth and the seventh, his 13th and 16th holes of the round. ‘When you stop trying, that’s when it starts happening,’ Coetzee said of his approach to the round.
‘I’m not complaining that I left anything out there because I definitely picked up a few that I shouldn’t have. I was hitting a lot of fairways. I was busy doing my own stats and I thought ‘ow, I didn’t miss a single fairway on that nine’, that doesn’t happen often. And then I missed two fairways; the one was a bad bounce and the other bounced on the road next to the green but when things are going your way, you just keep calm and enjoy.’
He’s certainly enjoyed being back home.
‘I went fishing at 10 o’clock last night, that’s the secret weapon; going fishing till late.’
Lurking three shots behind Coetzee is Jake Redman who used to reside in Knysna and had Simola as his home course. He carded a near-perfect eight-under 64. His round consisted of seven birdies, a bogey and an eagle.
‘It’s always nice to play a golf course that you’re familiar with,’ he said. ‘It brings back a lot of good memories and I have had a lot of good rounds here in the past. And, obviously, coming from Knysna, it’s nice to get out and get off to a good round.’
First round leaderboard:
61 – George Coetzee
64 – Jake Redman
66 – Oliver Bekker, Jean Hugo
67 – Fredrik From, Jacquin Hess, Keenan Davidse, Breyten Meyer, MJ Viljoen, Martin Rohwer
68 – Andre De Decker, Franklin Manchest, Andre Nel, Ryan Tipping, Daniel van Tonder, Combrinck Smit, CJ du Plessis
69 – Bennie van der Merwe, Luke Jerling, Philip Geerts, Herman Loubser, Doug McGuigan, Malcolm Mitchell, Hennie du Plessis, Jean-Paul Strydom, Anton Haig
70 – Cameron Moralee, Anthony Michael, James Hart du Preez, Garth Mulroy, Hennie Otto, Allister de Kock, Dayne Moore, Rupert Kaminski, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Andrew Curlewis
71 – Dylan Kok, Andrew van der Knaap, Makhetha Mazibuko, Riekus Nortje, Alex Haindl, Garrick Higgo, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Jade Buitendag, Deon Germishuys, Ruan Conradie, Ockie Strydom, Estiaan Conradie, Louis Albertse, Jaco Ahlers, Kyle Barker, Theunis Bezuidenhout
72 – Jason Diab, Hayden Griffiths, Jake Roos, Titch Moore, Darin de Smidt, Duane Keun, Kyle McClatchie, Toto Thimba, JJ Senekal, Ryan Cairns, Dylan Mostert, Roberto Lupini, Luke Brown
73 – Christopher Van der Merwe, Francois van Vuuren, Clinton Grobler, Callum Mowat, Matt Bright, Aubrey Beckley, Ruan de Smidt, Thriston Lawrence, Scott Campbell, Teboho Sefatsa, Hendrikus Stoop, Ruan Korb, Gerrit Foster
74 – Nicholaus Frade, Michael Hollick, Jonathan Waschefort, Chris Swanepoel, Wynand Dingle, Matthew Rushton, Sean Bradley, Christiaan Basson
75 – Karl Ochse, Paul Boshoff, Ryan O’Neill, Lyle Rowe, Erhard Lambrechts, Luke Mayo, Divan van den Heever, Ruan Huysamen, Cameron Esau, Jacques P de Villiers, Rhys West, DK Kim
76 – Arno Pretorius, Derick Petersen, Stephen Ferreira, Tristen Strydom
77 – Matthew Carvell, Wallie Coetsee, Teaghan Gauche, Dylan Naidoo, Jared Harvey, Wayne Stroebel, Jaco Prinsloo, David McIntyre
78 – Caylum Boon, Juran Dreyer
80 – Maurice Prinsloo, Adriel Poonan, Yubin Jung, Andrew Odoh
RTD – Heinrich Bruiners
Photo: Thinus Maritz/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images