Fichardt leads at Telkom PGA
Darren Fichardt (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - Darren Fichardt has heard that the rough at Country Club Johannesburg is pretty severe.
But after a first round of 64 in the Telkom PGA Championship on Thursday, he still couldn’t tell you what it looks like.
Fichardt missed only one fairway and didn’t make a single bogey on his way to a one-stroke lead on eight under in South Africa’s second oldest professional tournament.
Trevor Fisher Jnr is his nearest challenger, with young Free State professional Dean Burmester on six under.
And while Burmester recalls watching Louis Oosthuizen win this championship in 2008 with a phenomenal total of 28-under-par and has dreams of similar glory, Fichardt has been forging his ambitions in the cauldron of the practice range.
“I’ve been working really hard. Really, really hard,” he said after his round. “I’ve been hitting 500 to 600 balls a day, so I’m not surprised. I was going through the motions out there, just picking my targets off the tee and making sure I hit fairways and greens.
“The course is playing long and longer hitters have an advantage here. But the rough is up and the greens firm, so fairways are always a winner. But most importantly the putter needs to work, and that’s really good right now.”
Fisher Jnr was also pleased with his putting performance. He has four putters in his car boot this week, and a whole lot more in his garage at home. “If they don’t work, I change them,” he said. “But this one seems to be behaving. It was a very good day. You’ve got to get off to a good start here because the guys will make lots of birdies.”
Over the past few years the Telkom PGA Championship has certainly helped launch the international careers of South African golfers.
Louis Oosthuizen won this event back-to-back in 2007 and 2008, Jaco van Zyl in 2009 and George Coetzee in 2011, and all have gone on to greater success internationally, most notably Oosthuizen.
It’s a fact not lost on the likes of 22-year-old Burmester. “I remember watching Louis winning here (in 2008). It was just a sublime performance. It was unreal golf. I’m still young and hopefully I can get up there with the big guys someday, and emulate what he did, which would be awesome - it would kick start a career.”
Van Zyl opened with a three-under 69 on Thursday, while Jbé Kruger signed for a two-under 70.
Scores (RSA unless specified):
64 - Darren Fichardt
65 - Trevor Fisher Jnr
66 - Dean Burmester
67 - David Hewan, Andrew Curlewis, James Kamte
68 - Martin Maritz, Michael Hollick, Danie van Tonder, Andre Cruse
69 - Drikus van der Walt, Divan Gerber, Jaco Van Zyl, Oliver Bekker, James Kingston, Divan van den Heever, Jaco Ahlers, Alex Haindl, Desvonde Botes, Bryce Easton, Jake Roos, Brett Liddle, Derik Ferreira, Steven Ferreira, Ulrich van den Berg, Coenie Stoop
70 - Francois Coetzee, Neil Cheetham (ENG), Hendrik Buhrmann, Des Terblanche, Louis Moolman, Tyrone Ryan, Stuart Clark (WAL), Keith Horne, Jean Hugo, Warren Abery, Albert Pistorius, Jbe' Kruger, Simon Wakefield (ENG), Lindani Ndwandwe
71 - Martin du Toit, Louis Calitz, Richard Sterne, Joshua Cunliffe, Daniel Hammond, Juan Langeveld, Michiel Bothma, Shaun Norris, Grant Muller, Charl Coetzee, Hennie Otto, Allan Versfeld, Ockie Strydom, JJ Senekal, Keenan Davidse, Kyle Scott
72 - Dismas Indiza (KEN), Wynand Dingle, Jacques van Tonder, Brandon Pieters, Christiaan Basson, Andrew Georgiou, Justin Walters, Neil Schietekat, Vaughn Groenewald, Merrick Bremner, Prinavin Nelson
73 - Toto Thimba (Jnr), Thabo Maseko, PG van Zyl, Attie Schwartzel, Callie Swart, Justin Harding, Lyle Rowe, Thabang Simon, Dawie Van der Walt, Daniel Greene, JP van der Walt, Derick Petersen, Andre van Zyl, Allister de Kock, Mike Michell, Morne Buys, Tyrone Ferreira, Tjaart van der Walt, Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Ryan Tipping, Tyrone Mordt, Matthew Carvell, Francois Haughton
74 - David Ryan, Thomas Lovett, Titch Moore, PH McIntyre, Colin Nel, Mark Murless, Grant Veenstra, Jake Redman, Robert Wiederkehr (SUI), Doug McGuigan, Theunis Spangenberg, Peter Karmis, Dean O'Riley, Wallie Coetsee, Ryan Cairns (ZIM)
75 - Irvin Mazibuko, William Guy (SCO), Chris Swanepoel, Jacques Blaauw, TC Charamba (ZIM), Alan Michell, Steve Surry (ENG), Peter Wilson (ENG), Darren Blair, Omar Sandys, Ben Mannix (ENG), Bradford Vaughan, Alan McLean (SCO), Anthony Michael, Johan Bekker, Paul Marks, Chris Erasmus, Graham van der Merwe
76 - Ben Fouchee, Wesley Worster, Mark Williams, JG Claassen, Chris Williams, Bruce McDonald (ZIM), Johan du Buisson, Adrian Ford, Ruan de Smidt, Reece Mayberry, Beyers Smith, Teboho Sefatsa, Gary Birch Jr (GER), Ryan Thompson, Darryn Lloyd, Ariel Canete (ARG), Louis de Jager, Ivano Ficalbi
77 - Steve Basson, Ashley Roestoff, Jared Harvey, Ross Wellington, Michael du Toit, Jeff Inglis (ENG), Riekus Nortje
78 - Lean Boezaart, Norman Mashaba, Pieter Kruger, Willie van der Merwe
79 - Johan van Vuuren, Wayne Krambeck
81 - Louis le Roux
84 - Ryan Strauss