Haindl handles Jack’s course
Alex Haindl (Gallo Images)
St. Francis Bay - Alex Haindl knew nothing about St Francis Links before he arrived here for the Vodacom Origins of Golf Final.
And he was delighted about that.
On a beautiful day in this holiday town, Haindl opened with a four-under-par 68 to lead the field by a single stroke on a golf course that has brought many Sunshine Tour professionals to their knees.
The last time this course hosted the final of the Vodacom Origins series in 2008, only the winner and runner-up finished under par.
Haindl wasn’t in that field, and was pleased about it.
"I heard about that tournament and I’m very glad I never played in it.
"I think there would’ve been too many mental scars from that," he said.
But even on a benign day such as Wednesday, this Jack Nicklaus layout left its fair share of scars on the field.
Sunshine Tour veteran Mark Murless battled his way to a round of 15-over-par 87, including an outward nine of 48 where he was 12 over par through his first six holes.
Justin Harding, a previous winner on this series, made a 10 on the par-four ninth hole.
Musiwalo Nethunzwi went through a stretch where he made nine on the par-four 10th, birdied 11 and 12, and then made a 10 on the par-five 13th on his way to an 83.
And Divan Gerber made a nine on the par-four 18th on his way to a 79.
Haindl though was very solid throughout the day, apart from the bogey on his final hole, the par-four ninth.
"I only had one practice round so I’m happy with this start.
"I think it’s a beautiful golf course, but it obviously depends a lot on what the wind does here."
His nearest challengers are Jake Roos and Drikus Bruyns on three under, while Heinrich Bruiners came through the first round at two under.
Bruiners has shown himself to enjoy the tough layouts on the Tour. He won the Vodacom Origins tournament at Euphoria Golf Estate a few months ago.
Scores (RSA unless otherwise specified):68 -
Alex Haindl69 -
Drikus Bruyns, Jake Roos70 -
Heinrich Bruiners, JJ Senekal71 -
Louis Calitz, Adrian Ford, Warren Abery, Riekus Nortje, CJ du Plessis72 -
Daniel Hammond, Titch Moore, Lyle Rowe, Bennie van der Merwe, Merrick Bremner, Andrew Curlewis, Dean Burmester, Anthony Michael73 - Christiaan Basson
, Oliver Bekker, Jean Hugo, Steven Ferreira74 -
Shaun Smith, Martin du Toit, Lindani Ndwandwe, James Kamte, Attie Schwartzel, Jake Redman, Keenan Davidse, Ryan Strauss, Derik Ferreira75 -
Morne Buys, Ulrich van den Berg, Daniel Greene, Erik van Rooyen, Michael Hollick, JG Claassen, Ruan de Smidt76 -
Chris Erasmus, Grant Veenstra, Johan du Buisson, Jeff Inglis (ENG), Charl Coetzee, Jaco Ahlers, Vaughn Groenewald, Chris Swanepoel77 -
Theunis Spangenberg, Colin Nel, PH McIntyre78 -
Andre Cruse, Teboho Sefatsa, Grant Muller, Tyrone Ferreira, Bradford Vaughan
, Allan Versfeld, Desvonde Botes, Neil Schietekat
, Ryan Tipping79 -
Divan Gerber, Wallie Coetsee, Matthew Carvell, Justin Harding80 -
Tyrone Mordt, Doug McGuigan81 -
Irvin Mazibuko, Sipho Bujela82 -
Maritz Wessels, Derick Petersen83 -
Musiwalo Nethunzwi84 -
Shaun Norris85 -
Danie van Tonder87 -