Mookgophong - Erik Van Rooyen took advantage of the dry conditions at Euphoria Golf Estate and Hydro on Thursday to fire a six-under-par 66 for a one-stroke lead after the first round of the R700 000 Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament.
He made an eagle, seven birdies and three bogeys to be a shot clear of Jaco Ahlers and Russel Franz, with Jacques Kruyswijk in fourth place after an impressive bogey-free 69.
“This is quite a strategic golf course,” said Van Rooyen.
“It’s definitely more open off the tee than it has been in years. Obviously, it’s a little dry, so there’s not too much long stuff next to the fairways. I hit a lot of drivers out there today. The fairways are firm and you get a lot of roll. That left me with a lot of short irons in and I took full advantage today.”
Van Rooyen has had three top-10 finishes in his last five starts, and is looking for a maiden win on the Sunshine Tour.
His game seems to be rounding into shape for that elusive victory.
“The driving’s been great - it’s a strong suit of mine,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard on my putting, which is a part of the game which has always been a little lacking. So I’ll just keep it up. I’m very happy with the way I played today. There were a few soft bogeys on the back nine. I have to keep a positive mind-set about those.”
Ahlers, who plays out of nearby Koro Creek, used his ability to deal with the really dry and difficult conditions to great effect, making just one bogey and six birdies in his 67.
Franz also had just a single bogey on his card, with four birdies and an eagle.
In a part of the country where the effects of the drought gripping South Africa are most visible, Van Rooyen read the lie of the land best and took advantage.
“The condition of the course is not great, but it’s the same for everybody,” he said.
“So, if you’re going to miss the fairway, you’re going to get penalised and that’s the way golf should be played. We have placing on the fairways, and Euphoria has done a great job on the greens. They’re in immaculate condition.”
66 - Erik van Rooyen
67 - Jaco Ahlers, Russel Franz
69 - Jacques Kruyswijk
70 - Tyron McComb, Stephen Ferreira, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Danie van Tonder, Andrew Curlewis, Zander Lombard, Kevin Rundle,Jonathan Agren, Hennie du Plessis, Christiaan Basson, Michael Hollick
71 - Stefan Engell Andersen, Lyle Rowe, Rhys West, Le Roux Ferreira, Stuart Smith
72 - Dean Burmester, Callum Mowat, Merrick Bremner, Jbe' Kruger, Titch Moore, Chris Swanepoel
73 - Tyrone Ferreira, Toto Thimba, Steve Surry, Bryn Flanagan, Peter Karmis, Mark Williams, Bryce Easton, N.J. Arnoldi
74 - Ruan Pretorius, Ryan Cairns, Colin Nel, Jason Froneman, Callie Swart, CJ du Plessis, Teaghan Gauche, Doug McGuigan, Vaughn Groenewald, Wallie Coetsee, Justin Harding, Ryan Tipping, Derick Petersen
75 - Paul de Beer, Morne Buys, Madalitso Muthiya, Daniel Hammond, Charl Coetzee, Ruan de Smidt, Jaco Prinsloo, Jake Redman, Garth Mulroy, Gert Myburgh
76 - Stef Visage, Steven Ferreira, Theunis Spangenberg, Michael Palmer, Heinrich Bruiners, Etienne Bond, Jeff Hopkins,Tyrone Ryan, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Daniel Greene, Jared Harvey, Wayne Stroebel, Brett Liddle, Roux Jeffery
77 - Dayne Moore, Divan Gerber, Ockie Strydom, Divan van den Heever, Neil Schietekat, Louis de Jager, Greg Bentley, Andrew Odoh, Teboho Sefatsa, Neal Herman, Jason Viljoen, Irvin Mazibuko, Jake Roos, PH McIntyre
78 - Arthur Horne, Bryce Bibby, Mikhail Tewary, Jason Diab, Jeff Inglis, Oliver Bekker, Antonio Rosado
79 - Wynand Dingle, JC Ritchie, Breyten Meyer, Gideon Pienaar
80 - MJ Viljoen, Martin Rominger
81 - Neil Cheetham
82 - Tristen Strydom, Shane Granger
83 - Allister de Kock
85 - Justin Levy, Kangwine Chiluba
91 - Joe Dludlu
RTD - Jean-Paul Strydom, Nemanja Savic