Cejka joins Goosen in lead
Durban - German Alex Cejka took advantage of a defenceless Durban Country Club on Friday to card an eight-under-par 64 to share the first round lead of the 100th playing of the South African Open Championship.
“It’s quite a tricky course, but it’s not that long especially when the wind’s not blowing,” he said. “So I played quite smart with a lot of three-irons off the tee, and a lot of three-woods - you’ve got to have the ball in play.”
He shared the lead with two-time winner Retief Goosen
, and was just one stroke clear of Ernie Els
and Charl Schwartzel
The first round was completed on Friday after the course became water-logged after incessant rain on Thursday. Just two-and-a-half hours of play were possible.
The second round will be played on Saturday, after which the cut will be made to 50 and ties, instead of the original 65. Those who make the cut will have to play 36 holes on Sunday to complete the championship.
The difference between Cejka and the others was that Cejka made no mistakes at all as the wind stayed away and made the course play even shorter than its 6 157 metres.
It took an adjustment to where he positions the ball in his stance, and it’s a change that has borne fruit: “I moved the ball a bit forward, and really ground it out on the range,” he said.
“Then I just decided this morning to commit to the change, and it worked out well,” he added.
Goosen made two bogeys in his 64, while Els and Schwartzel each dropped a single shot in their seven-under-par 67s.
“I missed quite a few putts on the front nine and was getting a little annoyed with myself,” said Els. “But I played a really solid back nine,” he said of his closing 31 which included a chip-in for eagle on 13 and three birdies.
Goosen had two eagles in his round – on 18 after starting his round on the 10th and on the third. “I hit a perfect three-wood on to the front edge of 18,” he said, “and then holed a 25-footer. And on three, I hit a three-wood and a five-iron from 198 metres to about 10 feet in there.”
They were a further stroke clear of a group of six players on six-under-par 66.
In that group was 2008 SA Open champion Richard Sterne, who has been out of action with back problems for the better part of the year and a lot of the previous year.
He looked his old self but for a brief wobble on the 17th when he dropped a shot with a streaky approach and then a three-putt. But seven birdies made him look very impressive indeed.
The other players on six-under were Jaco Ahlers, Garth Mulroy and Tyrone van Aswegen all of South Africa, England’s David Dixon and Spain’s Carlos Del Moral.
Open champion Louis Oosthuizen headed up a group of 10 players on five-under-par 65, and his bogey-free round set him up nicely ahead of the weekend.
Oosthuizen had a poor Alfred Dunhill Championship last week, missing the cut, even though his game started coming around in the second round – and he was concerned the break for rain would negatively affect him.
“When tournament directors and everyone is pushing you to get as many holes as possible,” he said, “you can play yourself out of the tournament right there.”
Instead, he’s just three shots off the pace, and up there with the big duo of Goosen and Els, the next generation represented by Schwartzel, and Cejka, who represents the efforts by players from outside South Africa trying to win the title.Scores (RSA unless specified):
64 - Retief Goosen
, Alexander Cejka (GER)
65 - Ernie Els
, Charl Schwartzel
66 - Jaco Ahlers, Garth Mulroy, Tyrone van Aswegen, Richard Sterne, David Dixon (ENG), Carlos Del Moral (ESP)
67 - David Drysdale (SCO), Martin Maritz, Louis Oosthuizen, James Kamte, Jacques Blaauw, Richard McEvoy (ENG), Branden Grace, Floris de Vries (NED), Hennie Otto, Romain Wattel (FRA)
68 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Mark Brown (NZL), Divan van den Heever, Jake Roos, Warren Abery, Adam Gee (ENG), Brandon Pieters, Bradford Vaughan, Victor Riu (FRA), Dylan Frittelli (AMA)
69 - Colin Nel, John Parry (ENG), Robert Rock (ENG), Steven Tiley (ENG), Tony Johnstone (ZIM), Vaughn Groenewald, Jeppe Huldahl (DEN), Charles Bolling (USA), Gavan Levenson, Robert Coles (ENG), Charl Coetzee, Neil Schietekat, Dean O'Riley (AMA), Stuart Manley (WAL)
70 - Eirik Tage Johansen (NOR), Anthony Wall (ENG), Shaun Norris, David Howell (ENG), Lee Slattery (ENG), Wade Ormsby(AUS), Sebi Garcia (ESP), Justin Harding, Joel Sjoholm (SWE), Tim Clark, Tyrone Ferreira, Thomas Aiken, Grant Muller, Adilson da Silva (BRA), Christiaan Basson
71 - Marius Thorp (NOR), Willie van der Merwe, Teboho Sefatsa, Phillip Price (WAL), Alvaro Velasco (ESP), Darren Fichardt, Bernd Wiesberger (AUT), Peter Karmis, Richie Ramsay (SCO), Daniel Gaunt (AUS), Lorenzo Gagli (ITA), Trevor Fisher Jnr, Titch Moore, Peter Whiteford(SCO), Kenneth Ferrie (ENG), Andrew Curlewis, Ryan Dreyer (AMA), Alexandre Kaleka (FRA), Riekus Nortje (AMA), Lyle Rowe, Andre Cruse, Jarmo Sandelin (SWE), Louis de Jager, Scott Dunlap (USA), Pablo Martin (ESP), Damien McGrane (IRL), Robert Dinwiddie (ENG), Julio Zapata (ARG), Lloyd Saltman (SCO)
72 - Martin Wiegele (AUT), Jaco Van Zyl, Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP), George Murray (SCO), Trevor Dodds (USA), Marcel Siem (GER), Michiel Bothma, Anton Haig, Jbe' Kruger, Bennie van der Merwe, Steve Basson
73 - Ben Mannix (ENG), Alex Haindl, George Coetzee, John Bickerton (ENG), James Kingston, Seve Benson (ENG), Ryan Tipping, Sam Hutsby (ENG), Espen Kofstad (NOR), Tyrone Mordt, Magnus A Carlsson (SWE), Jamie Elson (ENG), Oskar Henningsson (SWE), Desvonde Botes, Omar Sandys, David Hewan, Warrick Druian
74 - Stuart Clark (WAL), Markus Brier (AUT), Ulrich van den Berg, Laurie Canter (ENG) (AMA), Scott Jamieson (SCO), Oliver Bekker, Dawie Van der Walt, TC Charamba (ZIM), Richard Bland (ENG), Dion Fourie, Jean Hugo, Matthew Zions (AUS), Lindani Ndwandwe, Steve Lewton (ENG), Eugen Marugi
75 - Alpheus Kelapile, Alan McLean (SCO), Louis Moolman, Vaughn Taylor (USA), Deane Pappas, Keith Horne, Michael Hoey (NIR)
76 - Merrick Bremner, Elliot Saltman (SCO), Mark Murless, JG Claassen (AMA)
77 - Toto Thimba (Jnr), Brett Liddle, Prinavin Nelson, Coenie Bester (AMA)
78 - Doug McGuigan, Des Terblanche, Chris Swanepoel
79 - Keenan Davidse, Matt Haines (ENG), Bryce Easton
84 - Anthony Michael
RTD - Clinton Whitelaw, Wayne Westner
DSQ - Raymond Russell (SCO)