Johannesburg – Veteran golfer Hennie Otto overcame a rainy day at Royal Cape Golf Club to shoot 66 and lead round one of the Cape Town Open by one stroke.
“It’s nice to be home and to visit Cape Town again,” Otto said after his round.
“It was difficult today because it was rainy and windy, but I played well.”
The Cape weather brought gusty winds and wet conditions, but Otto rode the storm and birdied two of his final three holes for a one-shot lead over Omar Sandys.
“The greens are very soft,” said Otto.
“You have to play shots a little differently and hit it past the flag. The rough is up as well, so I’m happy with a start like this.”
The 37-year-old had no trouble starting up the round and birdied four of his first six holes to reach the turn at four-under-par.
A birdie at the 10th looked to spark a low round, but his charge ended with a bogey, which came at the 13th.
Otto, now in his 16th year on the Sunshine Tour, switched on the magic over his closing holes and birdied the 16th and 17th for the outright lead.
“We’ll take it day by day, but it’s been going well for the last two months,” the three-time European Tour winner added.
“Let’s try and ride the wave and see how far we go.”
Meanwhile, Sandys started on the 10th and bogeyed his first two holes, but recovered the shots with birdies at the 12th and 15th.
The experienced campaigner blew through his second nine in 31 strokes to reach the clubhouse in second position.
“I was very positive the whole week, but I had a bad start today and didn’t know where this round was going to go,” Sandys said.
“I began to hit good shots and tried to play fairway and green and soon I was scoring. I birdied all four of the par-threes today and that was because I was hitting it so well.”
Sandys aimed to turn his disappointing season over the summer around and his start at Royal Cape was a step in the right direction.
“Good memories always come back. When I walked down the ninth, which was my last hole, and I saw myself on the leaderboard it inspired me,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to the next three days, but I have to focus on staying in the moment.”
Anthony Michael set the clubhouse lead at four-under-par early in the day, but slipped back to tied third alongside Peter Karmis by the close of play. – Sapa