Modimolle - A putter that Paul Marks intended to sell in his pro shop instead found its way into his bag and helped him to a five-under-par 67 and the lead in the first round of the PGA National Championship presented by Diners Club at Koro Creek Bushveld Golf Estate on Tuesday.
The 46-year-old Marks holds a one-stroke lead over Ekurhuleni’s Pierre van Vuuren, with Mount Edgecombe’s Johan Smit at three under after a round which he started with four birdies in his first five holes but then dropped five shots in two holes at 10 and 11.
Marks, the Director of Golf at Blair Atholl and the Chairman of the PGA of South Africa, thanked his putter for a round of five under that was one stroke short of the sixth birthday of his son that he was also celebrating on Tuesday.
“I tried to up-and-down on the last to make six under but I didn’t hit the chip properly so I made a par. But I’ve found a putter that I’m in love with. I missed one short putt, but the rest were great and I made one 20-footer.
“The putter is part of the new range from Scotty Cameron. I ordered it for my pro shop at Blair Atholl and when I unpacked it I immediately liked the look of it. I took it to the putting green and decided it’s not going on the shelf but in my golf bag. So I helped myself to a bit of stock from my pro shop.”
Marks, a forming touring professional on the Sunshine Tour, has never won the PGA National Championship.
“I’ve been close and have had a few seconds and thirds and fifths. But I’ve never won. I really want to win it, just for myself. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try and win.”
And he’s put the effort in this year to achieve that goal.
“I came here having put a bit of effort in my game. I’ve had the time to do some quality practice, so I didn’t want to play unless I had a real chance.”
At one stroke off the lead, Van Vuuren was happy with his start as he also hopes to claim a maiden title in the PGA National Championship.
He bogeyed the first but then turned in three under, and his bogeys at 10 and 11 were offset by three birdies in his last five holes.
“After that bogey at the first I told myself to just stay patient. I focused on hitting fairways and greens and that brought my rhythm back.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES
68 Pierre van Vuuren
69 Johan Smit
70 Pieter Schutte; Michael Michell
71 Dean Nysschen; Henk Alberts; Keagan Beyer; Tyrone Lorusso
72 Pieter Kruger; William Lake ZIM; Kenneth Dube
73 Christiaan Jonck; Werner Kapp; Herman Vorster; Ian Eveleigh
74 Andy Bean; Adriaan Vorster; Christo Hattingh; David Riddle
75 Jannie Botha; Robert Wiederkehr; Jaco Vermeulen; Hilliard du Plessis; Conor Thornton; Darrin Hedley; Alrich Labuschagne; Igor Milicic-Brandstaetter SRB; Johan Geldenhuys
76 Gerrit van Eeden; Ben Fouchee; Reece Mayberry; Clifford Ndou; Jean Sadie; Ian Corbett
77 Ryan Reid; Johary Raveloarison MAD; Peter Berman; Norman Mashaba; Barend Wessels
78 Moritz Von Prittwitz und Gaffron; Tian van der Berg; Philip du Preez; Altus Kapp; Byron Nel; Rudy Whitfield; Stefan Visage
79 Tiaan Geissler; Steve Basson; Richard Kaplan; Stephan Spies; Phillip Montgomery; Derek Reinke
80 Crizelda van Niekerk; Jan Steenekamp; Chris Clayton
81 Rudy Mertz; Roelof Nel; Johan Engelbrecht
82 Shaun Mouton; Jaun Geyser; Joseph Phiri
83 Michelle de Vries; Shikoane Maluleka
84 Cedric Brummer; Conrad du Plooy
85 Jannes Sik
89 Martin Briede
92 Pieter du Toit