Cape Town - Merrick Bremner posted a
seven-under-par 65, good enough for a one-stroke lead, after the first round of the
R2 million KCB Karen Masters at Karen Country Club in the Kenyan capital Nairobi
LEADERBOARD: KCB Karen Masters
He eagled the par-four 13th, made seven birdies and two
bogeys and still had the edge over Anton Haig by one and over Ruan
Conradie and Roberto Lupini by two when the dust settled on his round.
“I hit quite a few drivers out there today,” said Bremner.
some chances - maybe not really chances, but I was being a little more
aggressive than I would usually be - and it paid off.”
That aggression came in the face of a short, tight course which many
of the players feared would punish such impunity off the tee. But
Bremner had played the course twice before, when the Challenge Tour held
its Barclays Kenya Open on it, and he was able to take advantage of a
degree of familiarity.
It wasn’t all familiar for him, though.
“There are new greens since I
was last here, and they are really good,” he said.
“The surface is
great to putt on.
“The layout hasn’t changed much from what I can
remember. I really enjoy the course. I like the shape of the holes.
There are a couple that don’t agree with me, but that’s part and parcel
of what you get, I suppose.”
A lot of the players were more circumspect, but Haig didn’t appear to
be one of them, with his card showing two eagles, six birdies and four
The eagles were crucial to the position in which he found himself at
the end of the round.
“It always helps when you make two eagles in a
round,” he said after he started his day off on the 10th.
hit a big drive down 18. I hit eight-iron to about 20 feet, and had
quite a big slope in front of my putt and I made it. On the third, I hit
a great drive and I had nine-iron in. I hit it to literally three feet
and made the putt.”
The leading Kenyan player after the first round was Stefan Engell
Andersen, who carded a four-under-par 68 to share fifth place with nine
other players. He was happy with his start but professed feeling a
little pressure as a local.
“I’ve been struggling a bit technically, so
it’s been nice to get a bit of positivity and confidence going,” he
“There is some pressure. I don’t think I got a wink of sleep last
night. You just have to stay in the process of what you’re trying to
Among the players sharing fifth with Andersen was Jake Roos, the
last South African to win on the course when he took the 2014 Barclays
Lurking just one back from that big group on four-under was two-time
Sunshine Tour winner in 2018, Justin Harding, who got it to six-under
for the day, but battled tiredness after his trip back from a victorious
trip to Indonesia on his Asian Tour debut last week. Three bogeys
dropped him to four shots off the pace.
For Bremner, it will probably be more of the same for the rest of the
“We’ll just have a look how the course plays tomorrow and take it
from there,” he said. With at least three driveable par-fours, the fans
could be in for some thrills.