South Africa’s Charlene Pienaar stamped her authority in the ladies division on day one of the South African Blind Open, while Ernst Conradie and Gareth Slattery led the SA challenge in the B2 and B3 Divisions at Milnerton Golf Club on Monday.
Pienaar opened her campaign in the 36-hole medal competition with an opening 32 over par and the Benoni Lake Golf Club golfer will take three-shot lead into the final round over Karin Becker of Austria.
Ireland’s Jan Dinsdale, a regular visitor on our shores and always a great supporter of the SA Disabled Open, carded 54 over to take third place, with Ros Weir from England in fourth on 76 over.
Conradie leads the South African challenge in the B3 Division after an opening round of 97 saw him finish in fifth place. Compatriots Leon Strydom and Morne Els are a further two strokes back in joint seventh on 30 over.
It was no surprise, though, to see the world’s top-ranked Kiefer Jones heading up the leaderboard.
The Canadian won the International Blind Golf Association World Championship in his first appearance in 2018 in Rome. Jones will be defending his title in the upcoming World Championship at Milnerton Golf Club (31 March to 1 April) after delays caused by the global Covid-19 pandemic and its after-effects resulted in the tournament being postponed three times.
The 33-year-old golfer from Calgary opened with an 11-over-par 83 and leads by four shots from Australia’s Paul McKenzie.
England’s John Eakin in third on 18-over and Wally Roode from Ireland in fourth place on 23-over.
In the B2 Division, Tyler Cashman from the United States and Britain’s Andy Gilford shared the lead after carding matching rounds of 88.
Slattery, who finished 10 strokes off the pace, was the leading South African after an opening 26-over-par 98.
Slattery is two shots clear of four-placed Steve Beevers from England, and three ahead of In Chan Cho from Korea. Malcolm Elrick from Spain sits in sixth place on 29 over, and Canadian Kevin Frost is seventh on 30 over.
Andy Sellars from England, and Spanish golfer Marc Oller share eighth on 38 over, with South Africa’s Johan Kotze rounding out the top 10 on 43 over.
Alejandro de Miguael from Spain led the opening round in the B1 Division on 35 over.
Israel’s Zohar Sharon is second on 47 over, and Mario Tobla from the United States edged Korea’s Dong Sik Im for third place by two shots on 52 over.
The three categories are determined by the individual’s level of sight.
Golfers in the B1 Division are zero vision, while the B2 Division has 5% sight and the campaigners in the B3 Division have 10% vision. Each player has a sighted guide who describes the hole, helps with club selection and then ensures that the club head is directly behind the ball. From then on, it’s down to the blind golfers’ swing.