Cape Town - Jaco Ahlers made four consecutive birdies in his first four holes on his way to an opening round of eight-under-par 64 to lead by a single shot on day one of the Origins of Golf tournament at Selborne Park Golf Club.
Ahlers got off to a fast start on Thursday, birdieing the first four holes, and after four straight pars, on the ninth, another birdie made it onto his card as he turned in 31. A par on the 10th was quickly followed by another two birdies. With the wind picking up speed, Ahlers was happy to make pars from the 13th to the 17th as he sought out a bogey-free start. He then birdied the last to sign for an untainted 64.
“I didn’t play my best in the pro-am so to have a nice round today was nice,” he said. “I hit it really good today and I think I missed just one green and, in the wind, that great. That start I had – four birdies in a row – kind of makes it easier because you can play solidly and freely from there and that’s what I did. I missed a few putts on the back nine, unfortunately. I left them short which is not really great but if you start off like I did, you can always build on it.”
While he was happy with the blemish-free 64, Ahlers says he’s not entirely happy with his putting, citing speed as an area to be rectified before heading into the second round.
“On the back nine I left a few makeable putts,” he said. “The speed wasn’t great so we will work on that this afternoon and see if it feels a bit better. Last week too, the speed wasn’t too great and it was the same thing on the back nine today. It’s just the lack of speed that I need to fix.”
Lying a shot behind Ahlers is JC Ritchie who carded a near-perfect seven-under 65. Ritchie also had a solid start; birdieing the opening hole and backing that up with an eagle in the next. He made another birdie on the fifth and another on the ninth and 10th holes. Five back-to-back pars were followed by a bogey on 16, his only dropped shot today. And then, to close off his round, two more birdies found their way to his card.
“I’m really happy with my start after playing well last week,” said Ritchie, “I came here confident and I thought I did better than I did last week. I didn’t expect anything really but with this wind, I thought anything under par is a good score today. Brilliant ball-striking the whole day and I never really got out of position today.”
Lyle Rowe and Wallie Coetsee share the third spot after they both signed for 66s. At five-under and tying fifth is the pair of Steve Surry and Ruan Conradie while Thriston Lawrence, members of the Gary Player Class, Heinrich Bruiners and Allister de Kock along with Theunis Bezuidenhout occupy the seventh spot at four-under par.
64 - Jaco Ahlers
65 - JC Ritchie
66 - Lyle Rowe, Wallie Coetsee
67 - Steve Surry, Ruan Conradie
68 - Thriston Lawrence, Heinrich Bruiners, Allister de Kock, Theunis Bezuidenhout
69 - Matt Bright, James Hart du Preez, Derick Petersen, JJ Senekal, Ockie Strydom
70 - Greg Snow, Chris Cannon, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jacques Blaauw, Kyle McClatchie, Madalitso Muthiya, Hennie du Plessis, Titch Moore, Tristen Strydom
71 - David McIntyre, Rhys West, Garth Mulroy, Stephen Ferreira, Daniel van Tonder, Merrick Bremner, Jonathan Agren, Louis Albertse, Franklin Manchest, Erhard Lambrechts, DK Kim, Adilson Da Silva, Neil Schietekat
72 - Jason Diab, Jacques P de Villiers, Pieter Moolman, Hennie Otto, Andre Nel, Dylan Kok, Breyten Meyer, Andrew Curlewis, Herman Loubser, Jean Hugo, Zander Lombard, Teboho Sefatsa, Karl Ochse
73 - Anthony Michael, Jake Redman, Estiaan Conradie, Rourke van der Spuy, Dylan Naidoo, Fredrik From, Duane Keun, Jade Buitendag, Lindani Ndwandwe, Hayden Griffiths, Mark Williams, Ryan Cairns, Keith Horne
74 - Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Juran Dreyer, Kyle Barker, Philip Geerts, Andrew van der Knaap, Alex Haindl, Ruan Huysamen, Ryan Tipping, Lwazi Gqira, Christopher Van der Merwe, Marco de Beer, James Pennington, Christiaan Basson, MJ Viljoen, Keenan Davidse, Dylan Mostert, Anton Haig, Arno Pretorius
75 - Paul Boshoff, Martin Rohwer, Riekus Nortje, Philip Eriksson, Daniel Greene, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Cameron Moralee, Hendrikus Stoop, Altaaf Bux, Luke Jerling, Oliver Bekker
76 - Jaco Prinsloo, Callum Mowat, Ryan O'Neill, Luke Brown
77 - Andrew Odoh, Jacquin Hess, Keelan van Wyk, Sean Bradley, Dayne Moore, Toto Thimba, Ruan de Smidt, Garrick Higgo, Chris Swanepoel, Scott Campbell
78 - Benjamin Follett-Smith, Peetie van der Merwe, Wynand Dingle, Teaghan Gauche, Wayne Stroebel, Jared Harvey, Roberto Lupini, Adriel Poonan, Luke Mayo, Caylum Boon, Nicholaus Frade
79 - Eugene Marugi, Colin Nel, Darin de Smidt, Combrinck Smit, Andre De Decker, Yubin Jung
80 - Thabiso Ngcobo, Joe Nawanga, Deon Germishuys, Aubrey Beckley, Divan van den Heever
81 - CJ du Plessis, Doug McGuigan, Bennie van der Merwe
82 - Matthew Rushton, Francois van Vuuren
83 - Ruan Korb
84 - Jonathan Waschefort
85 - Sipho Bujela