Cape Town - It was a solid, if unspectacular start to his year, but Andrew Curlewis put that all behind him with a superb eight-under-par 64 on Thursday in the opening round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship.
He made an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey, even while his round was disrupted by two breaks while the players came off the course because of dangerous weather according to the Sunshine Tour website.
That gave him a two-stroke edge over England’s Toby Tree, who was in turn a shot clear of a group of players on five-under as play was called off in the first round because of darkness.
“The round took about four hours longer than usual,” said Curlewis, “but I can’t complain at the end of it.”
He got things going off the 10th tee, and, after a par there, he was soon into his work with four consecutive birdies from 11 to 14.
Two more birdies came on 17 and 18, and then things went a little quiet.
A birdie at four was negated by his only bogey on the next hole, but then, as the siren sounded for the second weather delay, he was lining up a three-footer for eagle. He made that after a break of nearly two hours and that took him clear of his pursuers.
“I hit some nice shots on the front nine,” he said. “It was just the putts that didn’t go in. But I managed to finish nicely and get done before the weather comes back.”
Tree, who made eight birdies and two bogeys in his 66, was also affected by the long time it took to get his round done. “You just try and switch off during the delay, and then warm up again, get ready for the round as if you’re starting on the first tee,” he said.
“I got off to a dodgy start with a bogey on 11, and then I nearly made a hole-in-one on the next,” he said. But then I managed to make some birdies on the back nine, so it all worked out.”
Those who were finished on five-under were Jbe’ Kruger, Danie van Tonder and Chris Swanepoel, with four more players on four-under.