Goosen lays golden marker
Retief Goosen (Gallo Images)
Durban - Retief Goosen hit his irons to perfection on Friday as he dominated the early proceedings of the rain-delayed opening round of the 100th playing of the South African Open with an eight-under-par 64.
“Obviously that is the way you want to start,” the two-time winner of the national title said. “I hit a lot of iron shots close and so the putting was a little easier than it would have been from 20 or 25 feet each time.”
He managed to get two priceless birdies under his belt after starting his round on the 10th on Thursday before the rain stopped play for the day and cast a pall of uncertainty over the rest of the tournament.
And, when play in the first round got underway again at 8.30am, he immediately raked in a third birdie, when he made a four on the 482-metre 14th.
He went on to make a total of six birdies and two bogeys – he dropped on the 17th and on the ninth – but it was the two eagles he made which vaulted him clear of the chasing field.
Leading the chasers was the unlikely figure of Jaco Ahlers, who has been struggling with his game for most of the 2010 Sunshine Tour after his maiden win in Paarl in 2009.
He carded a six-under 66 with a single dropped shot on the ninth after his only poor tee shot of the round. He followed that bogey with a run of five consecutive birdies from the 10th, which set him on his way.
He put a nice little exclamation point to his round with a birdie in 18, closing in six-under 30 for his homeward nine.
One shot further back on five-under was a group of five players, including Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, who is bidding to win his maiden South African Open title to finish off his year in style.
He was joined by Scot David Drysdale, and South Africans Martin Maritz, James Kamte and Jacques Blaauw.
With the weather holding after the drenching the course received on the opening day, Goosen was pleased to have got off to the fast start he did.
“Hopefully I can try and start building on this tomorrow afternoon and then see what happens Sunday if we play 36 holes or 18,” he said.
“It depends on the weather, obviously, and maybe they will take the tournament into Monday to try and get 72 holes in,” he added.Scores (RSA unless specified):
-8 - Retief Goosen
-6 - Jaco Ahlers
-5 - David Drysdale (SCO), Martin Maritz, Louis Oosthuizen, James Kamte, Jacques Blaauw
-4 - Thorbjorn Olesen (DEN), Mark Brown (NZL), Divan van den Heever
-3 - Colin Nel, John Parry (ENG), Robert Rock (ENG), Steven Tiley (ENG)
-2 - Eirik Tage Johansen (NOR), Anthony Wall (ENG), Shaun Norris, David Howell (ENG), Lee Slattery (ENG), Wade Ormsby(AUS), Sebi Garcia (ESP)
-1 - 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)
Par - Martin Wiegele (AUT), Jaco Van Zyl, Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP), George Murray (SCO), Trevor Dodds (USA)
+1 - 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
+2 - 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)
+3 - Alpheus Kelapile, Alan McLean (SCO), Louis Moolman
+4 - Merrick Bremner, Elliot Saltman (SCO)
+5 - Toto Thimba (Jnr), Brett Liddle, Prinavin Nelson, Coenie Bester (AMA)
+6 - Doug McGuigan, Des Terblanche
+7 - Keenan Davidse
+12 - Anthony Michael
RTD - Raymond Russell (SCO), Clinton Whitelaw