Mulroy on a mission at Masters

2011-11-03 18:31

Port Edward - Garth Mulroy returned to a course on which he played many times as an amateur, and carded a three-under-par 67 on Thursday in the opening round of the R1.2 million Nashua Masters at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.

But his fine showing on a day when a blustery northeaster did its job in defending the otherwise defenceless 5 807-metre par-70 course was trumped by another Umkomaas boy as Darryn Lloyd rode an extraordinary piece of luck on the 505-metre seventh to card an albatross-two and skip away to the lead at six-under-par.

And Mulroy has a lot on his mind on his return to South Africa from the United States after earning his 2012 PGA Tour card by finishing inside the top 25 of the 2011 Nationwide Tour: He needs three more tournaments to qualify for inclusion in the 2011 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, and should he get those under his belt, he has a very good chance of winning it.

But his Sunshine Tour eligibility has lapsed, and he will need to either pre-qualify for the season-ending Alfred Dunhill Championship and the SA Open Championship, or get sponsor’s invitations into the events.

In the meantime there is the small matter of a tournament to attempt to win and he put himself on the right track with a round that included just two bogeys on a day where just about everyone else struggled even more.

“I chipped in on my first hole of the day - the 10th, which was a good start, but then I made bogey on 17," said Mulroy.

He went birdie-bogey around the turn, but then made three more bogeys for a satisfactory return to his home country.

“The greens were a little firmer than I remember, and the wind certainly made things difficult,” he said.

But when the wind was from behind, it was a wonderful thing, as Lloyd discovered on the seventh, where he smoked a 360-metre drive down the fairway, and then lofted a sand wedge for the wind to carry it the remaining 145 metres into the hole.

“That albatross was really unexpected; I was planning to make it onto the green and two-putt for a good four, but when I got onto the green I saw that it was in the hole,” said Lloyd.

The albatross, together with three bogeys and six birdies, gave him his lead, while five players shared third at two-under 68: Stuart Clark, Jean Hugo, Tyrone Mordt, Oliver Bekker and Shaun Norris.

Of those, Hugo has won three tournaments this year, and can take any tournament he chooses by the throat should the scores start running for him.

And Bekker took his maiden title in the Northern Cape Classic in September.

Defending champion Warren Abery found himself at two-over, eight shots off the lead. But that’s not a long way with the weather forecast suggesting winds throughout the tournament.

Scores (RSA unless specified):

64 - Darryn Lloyd
67 - Garth Mulroy
68 - Stuart Clark (WAL), Jean Hugo, Tyrone Mordt, Oliver Bekker, Shaun Norris
69 - Callie Swart, Martin Maritz
70 - Matthew Carvell, Charl Coetzee, Lindani Ndwandwe, Robert Wiederkehr (SUI), Divan van den Heever, Justin Harding, Neil Schietekat, Theunis Spangenberg, Darren Fichardt, Jaco Van Zyl, George Coetzee
71 - Irvin Mazibuko, Josh Cunliffe, Adilson da Silva (BRA), Brandon Pieters, Jake Roos, Willie van der Merwe, Dean O'Riley, David Hewan, Vaughn Groenewald, Desvonde Botes, Daniel Greene
72 - David Ryan, Dean Burmester, Jaco Ahlers, Nic Henning, Warren Abery, Ulrich van den Berg, Alan Michell, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Anthony Michael, Wallie Coetsee, Andrew Curlewis, Ryan Hood
73 - Morne Buys, JJ Senekal, Christiaan Basson, Andre Cruse, Allan Versfeld, Peter Wilson (ENG), Jacques Blaauw, Doug McGuigan, Alex Haindl, Mark Williams, Alexandre Chopard (SUI)
74 - Ross Wellington, Mark Fensham, Merrick Bremner, Louis de Jager, Johan Bekker, Louis Moolman, Patrick Spindler, Ryan Tipping, Thabang Simon, PH McIntyre, Vickesh Singh, Michael du Toit
75 - Ali Tsai, Neil Cheetham (ENG), Bradford Vaughan, TC Charamba (ZIM), Mark Murless, Lyle Rowe, George Sauerman, JP van der Walt, Toto Thimba (Jnr), Dawie Van der Walt, Chris Swanepoel, JG Claassen, Andre van Zyl
76 - Colin Nel, Prinavin Nelson, Hendrik Buhrmann, Andrew Georgiou, Ockie Strydom, Bennie van der Merwe, Teboho Sefatsa, Steven Ferreira, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG), James Kamte, Grant Veenstra, Ryan Thompson
77 - Wandile Gininda, Louis Calitz, Jake Redman, Francois van Vuuren, Bryce Easton, Justin Walters, Omar Sandys, Derik Ferreira, Michael McGrady, Johan Etsebeth
78 - Garry Hill, Divan Gerber, Ryan Strauss, Brett Liddle, Des Terblanche, Adrian Ford, John McClean
79 - Diether Schuss, Don Black, Deane Pappas, Derek Scullard, Ben Mannix (ENG)
80 - Grant Muller, Ignatius Mketekete (ZIM), Jeff Inglis (ENG), Johan du Buisson, Tranos Muradzikwa (ZIM)
81 - Dane Vosloo, Michael Dreyer, Tsietsi Chabangu
82 - Derick Petersen, Cameron Esau, Wynand Dingle
83 - Attie Schwartzel
84 - Lourens Kleynhans
85 - Drikus van der Walt, Reggie Adams
87 - Marius Schutte
89 - Peter Dlamini (SWZ)
RTD - Michael Green