Nelson, De Jager on top
Prinavin Nelson (Gallo Images)
Bela Bela - Playing in a series celebrating the career of Retief Goosen was perfect inspiration for Prinavin Nelson and Louis de Jager to sign for opening 64s and lead the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Zebula Country Club on Wednesday.
Their eight-under-par score puts them one clear of Allan Versfeld and two ahead of Andrew Georgiou and Doug McGuigan.
Both Nelson and De Jager tried to apply the calm demeanour of Goosen during their rounds in the bushveld, where the pace is itself as relaxed as a Goosen smile.
“I’m not sure what happened today. It’s been awhile since I played well, so I’m very happy. I’ve met Retief Goosen before and I just tried to adopt his attitude on the course. He’s very relaxed and calm, and doesn’t get upset,” Nelson said after a bogey-free round in which he made six birdies through a nine-hole stretch.
De Jager has even further inspiration to try and follow in the footsteps of Goosen, coming from the same town of Polokwane.
“You see what he’s achieved and it makes you want to work harder. I’ve played with him a few times, and he’s just so much more consistent and confident. It’s something I’ve been working on as well, and today it came off,” he said following a round where he chipped in for birdie on the par-three 17th.
It’s already a low-scoring start on a Zebula course where over the half the field scored par or better on the first day, and where the quality of the greens has drawn praise from the professionals.
“Probably the best greens in the country at the moment,” was the enthusiastic response from McGuigan after his 66.
McGuigan’s putting was certainly the key to his round. But his improved performance on the greens has come at a cost. He was doubtful of even teeing it up in the first round as he is battling with a severe lower back strain.
“I was really thinking I might not even play. But I’ve been stretching and had a massage, and the pain is still there, but it’s manageable. I think it’s from all the putting work I’ve been doing. Last week I did about seven hours of putting from four feet in two days, so I think that strained it.”Scores (RSA unless otherwise specified):
64 - Prinavin Nelson , Louis de Jager
65 - Allan Versfeld
66 - Andrew Georgiou , Doug McGuigan
67 - Dean Burmester , Albert Pistorius
68 - Bryce Easton , Ockie Strydom
69 - Grant Veenstra , Neil Schietekat , Trevor Fisher Jnr , Keith Horne
70 - Danie van Tonder , Alan Michell , Michiel Bothma , Bradford Vaughan , Shaun Norris , James Kamte , Desvonde Botes ,Neil Cheetham (ENG)
71 - Mark Murless , Titch Moore , Justin Harding , JG Claassen , Theunis Spangenberg , Brandon Pieters , Ulrich van den Berg ,Colin Nel , Omar Sandys , Jake Redman
72 - Beyers Smith , Jacques Blaauw , Anthony Michael , Matthew Carvell , Dean O'Riley , Ryan Thompson , Charl Coetzee ,Daniel Greene , Attie Schwartzel , David Hewan , Vaughn Groenewald , Oliver Bekker
73 - PH McIntyre , Lean Boezaart , Johan du Buisson , Jean Hugo , Christiaan Basson , Andrew Curlewis , Lyle Rowe ,Toto Thimba (Jnr), Grant Muller , Steven Ferreira , Mark Williams , Dion Fourie , Merrick Bremner , Morne Buys
74 - Jaco Ahlers , Lindani Ndwandwe , Des Terblanche , Callie Swart
75 - Johan Bekker , Divan Gerber , Joshua Cunliffe
76 - Louis Calitz , Thabang Simon , Divan van den Heever
77 - Ryan Tipping
78 - Jake Roos
79 - Hendrik Buhrmann , Wayne Westner
80 - Chris Swanepoel