Ross Fisher is one of the longest hitters on the European Tour and finished second to Danny Willett at the Nedbank Golf Challenge last year, so it came as no surprise that he shot 68 on Thursday to co-lead at Sun City.
‘I’m still of the mindset to go out there and attack and try and make as many birdies as I can,’ said Fisher, who is ranked 16th in the Race to Dubai.
— Ross Fisher (@RossFisher) November 10, 2016
The 2014 Tshwane Open winner was bogey-free until the 17th, where he dropped a lone shot, but recovered it with a birdie at the 18th to make clubhouse tied for first with Jeunghun Wang and Felipe Aguilar.
‘I was working my butt off to birdie the last I have to say,’ said Fisher. ‘I wanted to try to make birdie because I let a few chances slip on the back side.’
George Coetzee was the leading South African on day one after racing to a three-under-par 69. The 30-year-old made two eagles (at the second and 14th) but also doubled the eighth on his way to a share of fourth alongside countryman Jaco van Zyl and Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson.
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 10, 2016
Aguilar led early into the first round after closing with birdies at the 16th and 17th, having put his knowledge of kikuyu to good use in making five birdies and one bogey.
‘I try to be very strategic. I don’t go for every single hole out here. It worked out today and hopefully it will work out for the next three days,’ he said.
Wang soon joined the Chilean at the top of the log with a similar card, his bogey coming at the eighth, while peppering the card with birdies at the second, third, eighth, 13th and 17th. The young Korean star is an enigma at Gary Player Country Club this week and certainly one to look out for.
‘I made a lot of one-putts and great, big saves. So I’m trying to save my birdies and keep making pars. I did well today,’ he said.
‘When I played my practice round, it was really tough. I feel it’s really tough. But now I’m playing the tournament, I feel a little bit easier. I’m hoping to get better and better,’ he explained,’ he added.
George Coetzee – T4/69(-3)
Jaco van Zyl – T4/69(-3)
Thomas Aiken – T11/70(-2)
Branden Grace – T14/71(-1)
Louis Oosthuizen – T21/72(par)
Retief Goosen – T27/73(+1)
Charl Schwartzel – T32/74(+2)
Richard Sterne – T32/74(+2)
Brandon Stone – T56/76(+4)