Wild Coast - It was a blustery day at Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Wednesday, but Louis de Jager played sublime golf to begin the Vodacom Origins of Golf with a seven-under-par 63.
De Jager led by four over Stuart Smith of Botswana and Jared Harvey who both carded 67.
The wind increased throughout the day until gusts blew at up to 30km/h, but De Jager knuckled down and carded 30 on his second nine for the four-shot lead.
“There are days when you play well and don’t score, but today I managed to pull it off," he told sunshinetour.com after his round.
"I’m in a good position and really enjoying this. We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to having a go."
The 2009 Suncoast Classic winner started on the 10th and took advantage of the par-five 12th for his first birdie. He made a further gain at the 18th to turn at two-under for the day.
On his second loop the wind set in, but De Jager's six years on tour meant he knew how to deal with the conditions.
De Jager used the wind to his advantage at the second and holed out from the fairway for an eagle two. That sparked his fire and he went on to birdie the third.
“The wind picked up on my 11th hole of the day, but we got a bit lucky before that.
"When the wind blows like this you’ve really got to use your imagination around here and all of those different shots help you to stay focused. If you get the ball flight and club selection right then it’s not too bad.”
After sinking a 25-footer for birdie at the seventh, he played a good approach at the ninth to set up another birdie.
“Seven is a real birdie chance and I had wedge into a par-five, which was nice.
"I chipped it over the back and was trying to get the putt close, so sinking that was a bonus. On the ninth the pin was tucked back right, but we had the wind hard off the left so I aimed for middle green and it caught the breeze and rolled up to about six feet."
Scores (RSA unless otherwise specified):
63 - Louis de Jager
67 - Stuart Smith (BOT), Jared Harvey
68 - James Kamte, PH McIntyre
69 - Shaun Norris, Neil Schietekat
70 - Bryce Bibby, Keenan Davidse, Heinrich Bruiners, Keith Horne
71 - Christiaan Basson, Jean Hugo, Matthew Carvell, Tyrone Ryan, Jaco Ahlers
72 - Eddie Taylor, Pieter Moolman, Francois Coetzee, Danie van Tonder, Warren Abery, Tyrone Mordt, Allan Versfeld, Mark Williams, CJ du Plessis, Titch Moore
73 - Shaun Smith, Oliver Bekker, Jacques Blaauw, Andre Cruse, Haydn Porteous, Colin Nel, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Michael Hollick, Ruan de Smidt
74 - Attie Schwartzel, Andrew McLardy, Ulrich van den Berg, Divan van den Heever, Jeff Inglis (ENG), Wallie Coetsee
75 - Daniel Greene, Le Roux Ferreira, Peter Karmis, Gideon Pienaar, Lyle Rowe, Grant Muller
76 - Torben Baumann (GER), Steven Ferreira, Anthony Michael, Justin Harding, Alex Haindl, Derick Petersen, Bryce Easton
77 - Charl Coetzee, JJ Senekal, Theunis Spangenberg, Vaughn Groenewald, Mark Murless, Doug McGuigan
78 - Andrew Curlewis, Drikus van der Walt, Nico van Rensburg
79 - Greg Bentley (ZIM), Chris Swanepoel, Lindani Ndwandwe
80 - Tyrone Ferreira, Jake Redman
82 - JG Claassen
86 - Ockie Strydom, Dean Burmester