George - Steady was the word of the day for Scott Arnold on Thursday after an opening 65 at the Outeniqua course at Fancourt Golf and Country Estate moved him into a share of the lead at the Dimension Data Pro-Am.
“It was a great way to start. I played really solid and holed some putts, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and that should be alright for the week,” he said.
The Australian is enjoying the atmosphere of the R3.75m tournament, where the professionals play a round at The Links, Outeniqua and Montagu courses at Fancourt, followed by a final round on Montagu.
“It’s lovely here, exactly like Australia with the sun out, so it’s great to play here. I’m from Sydney in New South Wales, so I’m used to 30- or 40-mile-an-hour winds.”
Arnold began the first day with two consecutive birdies and then continued to shine, making a further two before the turn, a fifth at 12 and then an eagle at 17 to lead in the clubhouse.
Justin Harding chased down that lead over his final holes at Montagu, making two birdies in his last three holes to claim a share of the first-round lead.
“I’m pleased with today, because I played well from tee to green and putted fantastically,” said Harding. “There are three rounds to come, and I’ll try to get into a good position for Sunday and then try to take on the trophy,” he said.
Chasing the two young leaders were European Tour veterans Hennie Otto and Simon Dyson, who both shot six-under-par 66 at Outeniqua.
“Some big shoes to fill back there,” said Arnold. “I’m not going to worry about what they do - I can’t control that. I’m just going to go out and play the best that I can, at the end of the week if I win that’s great, but otherwise I’ll know that I’ve done the best I can,” he said.
It was only two years ago that Otto lifted the Dimension Data Pro-Am trophy, and the two-time European Tour winner loomed on six-under.
“It’s fun and serious this week - there is a balance. If you want to score in this tournament it’s on Outeniqua, and I’m glad I could go low today and get the tournament off to such a good start,” he said.
England’s Dyson, a six-time European Tour winner himself, was enthusiastic after his opening 66 and relished his time in the sun.
“Everything was good today and it’s absolutely beautiful here. It’s always a pleasure to come back and play in South Africa and when I get a chance to come I take it,” he said.
Seven players shared fifth on five-under-par, four of whom played the Montagu course and two who played Outeniqua.
At The Links, which is a par-73 and the toughest layout of the three courses, Jared Harvey carded an impressive 68 to become the seventh player tied on five-under. The Fancourt Foundation graduate was happy to have done so well at a course that punishes mistakes.
“My playing partner, Francois Pienaar, asked me which course I respect the most at Fancourt and I told him it was definitely The Links. I would have taken even-par before I teed off today, so it’s great to start five under,” he said.
Scores (RSA unless otherwise specified):
-7 - Scott Arnold (AUS) 65, Justin Harding 65
-6 - Simon Dyson (ENG) 66, Hennie Otto 66
-5 - James Kingston 67, Jaco Ahlers 67, Dawie Van der Walt 67, Desvonde Botes 67, Tjaart van der Walt 67, Jean Hugo 67,Jared Harvey 68
-4 - Dylan Frittelli 68, Ockie Strydom 68, Jaco Van Zyl 68, Matthew Nixon (ENG) 68, Darren Fichardt 68, Torben Baumann (GER) 68,Andrew Marshall (ENG) 69, Dean Burmester 68, Daniel Brooks (ENG) 68, Michiel Bothma 68, Gregory Molteni (ITA) 68, Theunis Spangenberg 68,Lasse Jensen(DEN) 68
-3 - Peter Uihlein (USA) 69, Garth Mulroy 69, Trevor Fisher Jnr 69, Merrick Bremner 69, Mark Tullo (CHI) 69, Jacques van Tonder 69,Micky Hough (ZIM) 69, Ruan de Smidt 70, Alan McLean (SCO) 70, Christiaan Basson 69, Keenan Davidse 69, Tyrone Ryan 69,Steven Ferreira 69, Andrew Georgiou 69, Martin Rominger (SUI) 69, Laurie Canter (ENG) 69, Brett Liddle 69
-2 - Danie van Tonder 71, Thomas Aiken 70, Allan Versfeld 70, Musiwalo Nethunzwi 70, Jacques Blaauw 71, PH McIntyre 70,Jake Roos 70, James Kamte 70, Rhys Davies (WAL) 70, Titch Moore 70, Dean O'Riley 71, Jean-Paul Strydom 70, Ryan Cairns (ZIM) 70,Alex Haindl 70, Johan du Buisson 70
-1 - Wallie Coetsee 72, Irvin Mazibuko 71, Brandon Detweiler (USA) 71, Louis de Jager 72, Keith Horne 71, Michael Gligic (CAN) 72,Oliver Bekker 71, Tyrone Ferreira 71, Alastair Forsyth (SCO) 71, Johan de Beer 72, Neil Schietekat 71, Anthony Michael 72,Bryce Easton 71, Ross McGowan (ENG) 71, Alexander Levy (FRA) 71, Colin Nel 71, Daniel Im (USA) 72, Lyle Rowe 71, Martin du Toit 71
Par - Alan Michell 73, Doug McGuigan 72, Justin Walters 72, Graeme Storm (ENG) 72, Michael Hollick 72, Warren Abery 72,Brandon Pieters 72, John Moore (USA) 72, Henk Alberts 72, Attie Schwartzel 73, Albert Pistorius 73, Gert Myburgh 73,Ulrich van den Berg 72, Hendrik Buhrmann 72
+1 - Shaun Norris 73, Langley Perrins 73, Charl Coetzee 73, James Busby (ENG) 73, Clifford Howes 74, Matthew Southgate (ENG) 73,Alexandre Kaleka (FRA) 74, Divan van den Heever 73, Thabo Maseko 74, Andrew Curlewis 73, Francesco Laporta (ITA) 73, Drikus van der Walt 73,Ryan Tipping 73
+2 - Jeff Inglis (ENG) 75, Matthew Carvell 75, Chris Lloyd (ENG) 75, Riekus Nortje 75, Desne van den Bergh 74, Seve Benson (ENG) 74,Teboho Sefatsa 74, Mark F Haastrup (DEN) 74, Michael du Toit 75, Chris Swanepoel 74, Mark Murless 75, Vaughn Groenewald 74,Wynand Dingle 75, Kyle Stevens 74, Grant Veenstra 74
+3 - Gerhard Trytsman 75, Morten Orum Madsen (DEN) 76, Shaun Smith 76, Toto Thimba (Jnr) 76, Grant Muller 76, Ben Mannix (ENG) 76,David Hewan 76, Le Roux Ferreira 75, Morne Buys 75, Neil Cheetham (ENG) 75
+4 - Makgetha Mazibuko 76, Daniel Gaunt (AUS) 76, Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM) 76, Jake Redman 77, Daniel Hammond 77, Lindani Ndwandwe 77,Ross Wellington 77, Johan Bekker 77, Joshua Cunliffe 76, Daniel Greene 76, Louis Calitz 77, Bradley Sinnett 77,Jacques Kruyswijk 76
+5 - Bennie van der Merwe 78, Oscar Floren (SWE) 78, Anthony Snobeck (FRA) 78, JG Claassen 77, Shaun Ellis 77, Callum Macaulay (SCO) 78,Tyrone Mordt 77, Juan Langeveld 78, Maritz Wessels 77, MJ Daffue 77
+6 - JP van der Walt 79, Divan Gerber 79, Pieter Moolman 79, CJ du Plessis 79, Nick Dougherty (ENG) 78, Steve Surry (ENG) 79,Nic Henning 78
+7 - Graham van der Merwe 80, Coenie Bester 80
+8 - Bradford Vaughan 80, Thabang Simon 80, Chris Erasmus 80
+9 - Duane Keun 81
+10 - Mark Williams 83, Derik Ferreira 83
+11 - JJ Senekal 84, Darryn Lloyd 83