South Africa’s highest ranked golfer and the top man in the 240-strong field this week, Louis Oosthuizen, lived up to his billing as one of the favourites to go all the way at the SA Open at Randpark this week by opening his tournament with a scintillating nine-under-par 62 on the Bushwillow course on Thursday.
Oosthuizen went bogey-free around the easier and shorter course – as opposed to the Firethorn layout which is also being used this week - on a day of low scoring in hot, breezy conditions.
“I drove the ball well and gave myself a few opportunities to hit it close,” said Oosthuizen about his round.
“I also putted nicely, something I’ve been doing well for a while now. There’s still a long way to go, but I’m very pleased with that round.”
One shot off the lead held by Oosthuizen are two players – Zambia’s 1330-ranked Madalitso Muthiya and the winner in Mauritius last week, Kurt Kitayama of the USA.
Muthiya went round without a bogey on Bushwillow, while Kitayama - with a course record-equalling score of eight-under-par 63 on Firethorn – also didn’t drop a shot.
A further stroke back on seven-under-par is Zander Lombard, who registered eight birdies after opening with a bogey on the Firethorn course.
Three players were in fifth place on six-under-par after the opening round. England’s Matt Wallace, Zimbabwe’s Mark Williams and South Africa’s Tyrone Ferreira all recorded six-under-par 66s on the Bushwillow course.
A big group of players was four shots off the lead, on five-under-par, including five-time winner Ernie Els, Branden Grace and J’be Kruger.@jacq_west