Combrinck Smit took advantage of a calmer day at Pinnacle Point Estate and posted a seven-under-par 65 to lead the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf final on Thursday.
Smit’s round of nine birdies, one eagle, two bogeys and one double-bogey earned him a one-stroke lead over recent winner Stephen Ferreira. Dylan Mostert, another winner on the Tour this year, is two shots off the lead. And Albert Venter, twice a winner this year, is well placed on four under par.
The slight drop in the wind compared to the previous two days in the pro-am was a welcome respite for the field.
“This golf course is always a beast and my experience is that the wind always blows here. So, we were lucky that it was quite calm today,” said Smit, who has found some form on the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series this year with a fourth-place finish in the Highland Gate tournament in August.
“I wouldn’t say I expected this round because I haven’t played my best golf over the last three tournaments. But golf is funny and you never know when it’s going to turn around. I hit the ball unbelievably well and that meant I had a lot of tap-ins for birdie putts. I think I only had a couple of birdie putts that were outside eight feet.”
Smit’s most prolific run of birdies came over the turn where he made six birdies in seven holes. Unfortunately, there was also a double-bogey on the par-three 9th in that stretch.
“I was too aggressive and had the wrong club and knocked it into the snake pit, as they call it on that hole. But you know, overall you’re always happy with a low round on the first day. It puts me in a good position, and even more so with Friday’s weather looking very difficult.”
This week’s tournament is a 72-hole event which is a break from the traditional 54-hole tournaments on the winter leg of the Sunshine Tour. But it’s also perfect timing with the main summer schedule coming up in the next few weeks.
“We usually play three-round tournaments at this time, so it’s great because you really want to make the cuts in those four-round events, and this is good for getting used to that.”