Sunshine Tour

Eagles help Hugo, Du Plessis to fast start

2019-02-28 15:53
Jean Hugo
Jean Hugo (Gallo Images)

Johannesburg - Two eagles on their opening nine at Dainfern Country Club saw defending champions Jean Hugo and Hennie du Plessis card a 14-under-par 58 in their opening fourball round of the Team Championship on Thursday.

The pair started on the 10th and did not drop a single shot in the betterball scoring, making 10 birdies in addition to those eagles, including five birdies in a row to close out their round and give them a one-stroke edge over Daniel Greene and Jake Redman. Jaco Prinsloo and JC Ritchie were in third on 11-under-par with four teams on 10-under.

"We got off to a good start," said Du Plessis. "We didn't hit good tee shots but we managed to make a few birdies in the first few holes and a good eagle on the third - the 12th - and we just kept it going."

Their second eagle came on the 502-metre par-five 18th, and they missed an opportunity to go even lower when neither of them was able to go any better than par on the 476-metre par-five second - the only par-five where they didn't pick up a shot or more.

It was a question of taking advantage of the freedom the format gives players.

"I'm more relaxed in this kind of format," said Du Plessis. "You have so much more confidence when you know your partner is hitting the ball straight and giving himself a lot of opportunities too."

Hugo agreed.

"You don't have to really be in form or that confident," he said. "If you believe in your playing partner and you've got confidence in him and his game, you feel that much better. That's what our game is like. We just spur each other on so well. When he's on form, I just let him go. Sometimes, the temptation is there to help him with something, but you've just got to get out of his way."

Redman and Greene made 13 birdies between them, and worked out a strategy which got the best out of each player.

"You've got to be aggressive, but the guy who's playing first needs to not put too much pressure on his partner," said Redman.

Greene brought a slightly more conservative mindset to his approach. "You've got to keep mistakes to a minimum," he said. "Just keep it in the fairway, and mistakes can happen easily, so you've just got to be careful."

The group sharing fourth on 10-under included Andrew van der Knaap and Luke Jerling, Jacques Blaauw and Merrick Bremner, Rourke van der Spuy and Jean Pierre Strydom, and Jaco Ahlers and Vaughn Groenewald.

The second round will be foursomes (alternate shot), after which there will be a cut to the top 24 teams ahead of the final round which sees a return to fourball play.

Scores:

58 - J Hugo & H Du Plessis

59 - D Greene & J Redman

61 - J Prinsloo & JC Ritchie

62 - A Van der Knaap & L Jerling, J Blaauw & M Bremner, R van der Spuy & JP Strydom, J Ahlers & V Groenewald

63 - R de Smidt & W Dingle, C Basson & J Roos, M Palmer & T Ryan, A Haig & T Ferreira, L Rowe & S Surry, MJ Viljoen & O Strydom, A Michael & R Tipping

64 - J Smith & W Stroebel, A Nel & C Cannon, J de Villiers & A Versfeld, B Follett-Smith & S Ferreira, M Muthiya & A Odoh, A Beckley & K McClatchie, C Groenewald & D Moore, P Geerts & J Buitendag

65 - V Lange & N O’Briain, R McGowan & R Enoch, T Thimba & M Carvell, F Manchest & T Sefatsa, D McGuigan & H Otto, C Swanepoel & CJ du Plessis, U van den Berg & T Fisher Jnr, E Conradie & R Conradie

66 - D van Tonder & T Tree, R Nortje & P Moolman, D Petersen & K Davidse, A Bux & J Froneman, M Nethunzwi & A de Kock, P Eriksson & F From

67 - JJ Senekal & R West, B Meyer & C Mowat, T Bezuidenhout & E Lambrechts, T Moore & W Coetsee

68 - H Bruiners & J Hess, T Lawrence & L Albertse, M Mazibuko & T Simon, M Rohwer & A De Decker

69 - C Nel & N Schietekat, J Harvey & M Hollick, D Keun & R Lupini

70 - T Gauche & J Viljoen

71 - M McNulty & C Davison

72 - H Loubser & S Campbell

 

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