Cape Town – He used driver all day on Thursday off the tee, and the extra distance Michael Palmer gained saw him to a brilliant nine-under-par 63 and the lead by three strokes in the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open presented by Sun International at Royal Cape Golf Club.
Palmer’s aggressive approach saw him make birdie on the second hole, and four more from the fourth through to the seventh to register a bogey-free round and finish up one shot off the course record at the oldest championship club in the country.
“I’ve been putting in a lot of work, definitely, off the tee and with my putting. I played really well today and kind of went with the aggressive approach and just hit driver at pretty much every tee box. There wasn’t much wind today so I could get away with that kind of attitude and my wedges and putting were really good today,” Palmer said after his round.
Hot on his heels was defending champion, Brendon Stone, who carded a six-under-par 66 to place himself firmly in control of his title-defence bid. In his effort to become the first-ever player to defend the five-year-old event, Stone feels that he’s coming to Cape Town off the back of some fairly decent performances.
“To be fair, I actually haven’t felt like I’ve been playing badly, I just haven’t been playing well – there’s like that margin. Today I started hitting some incredible shots. I think I still missed about three or four putts inside 10 feet to shoot six-under, so there’s still some more shots for me to gain out there,” said the defending champion.
The leading pair was closely followed by Jacques Kruyswijk who credits his opening five-under-par 67 round to a strong mentality and great physical shape. Kruyswijk said he was feeling strong ahead of the opening round and this was evident when he had a nervous moment on the 18th hole – his ninth after he started the round on 10 – where he made a double-bogey but later redeemed himself with a pair of birdies on the homeward nine.
“I’m really happy with my round. I have worked very hard the last couple of weeks. I feel very refreshed this week and I am pretty pleased to be opening with a good round today, so it’s good,” he said.
Kruyswijk shared third spot on five-under with Christiaan Bezuidenhout and Matthew Carvell.
Palmer has a three-stroke edge going into the second round, and he’s pretty sure he’s going to take the same aggressive approach tomorrow. “I’ll just carry on doing the same things. I’ve been putting a lot of work in on the range, so I’ll just carry on,” he said.
63 - Michael Palmer
66 - Brandon Stone
67 - Jacques Kruyswijk, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Matthew Carvell
68 - Toby Tree, Bryce Easton, Jaco Ahlers, Justin Harding, Ryan Tipping, Wynand Dingle, Ryan Cairns, Anthony Michael
69 - Lindani Ndwandwe, Steven Ferreira, Dylan Frittelli, Tjaart van der Walt, James Kamte, Daniel Greene, Oliver Bekker, Teaghan Gauche, Mike Michell, Zander Lombard, Wallie Coetsee, Titch Moore, Louis de Jager
70 - Makhetha Mazibuko, Bryn Flanagan, Hennie Otto, Jbe' Kruger, Mark Murless, Jacques Blaauw, Warren Abery, Heath Slocum, Dean Burmester, Callum Mowat, Mark Williams, Chris Swanepoel, Jack Harrison, Jean-Paul Strydom, Tristen Strydom, Andre de Decker, Drikus Bruyns
71 - Morne Buys, Sean Bradley, Jake Redman, Omar Sandys, Trevor Mahoney, Werner van Niekerk, Antonio Rosado, Morten Orum Madsen, Jared Harvey, Neil Schietekat, JC Ritchie, Le Roux Ferreira, Madalitso Muthiya, Andrew Georgiou, Peter Karmis, Rourke van der Spuy
72 - Stuart Smith, Teboho Sefatsa, Heinrich Bruiners, Tyrone Ferreira, Ruan de Smidt, Bradford Vaughan, Charl Coetzee, Jeff Hopkins, Keagan Beyer, Russel Franz, Doug McGuigan, Jacquin Hess, Jaco Prinsloo, Grant Veenstra, Scott Vincent, Ross McGowan, Allan Versfeld, Vaughn Groenewald, Mikhail Tewary
73 - Mervyn Galant, Wayne Bradley, JJ Senekal, Lyle Rowe, Steve Surry, Gerrit Foster, Kevin Rundle, Toto Thimba, Jason King, Francesco Laporta, Rhys West, Rhys Enoch, Ockie Strydom, Ulrich van den Berg, Ruan Pretorius, Stefan Engell Andersen, Andrew Odoh
74 - Jeff Inglis, Breyten Meyer, Alexander Pitty, Colin Nel, Alan Michell, Divan van den Heever, Pieter Kruger, Keenan Davidse, Dale Brandt-Richards, PH McIntyre, Michael Hollick, Jonathan Agren, Jake Roos, Bryce Bibby, Neil Cheetham, Irvin Mazibuko
75 - Gregg Upton, James Wade, Neil Whitehorn, Neal Herman, Tyrone Mordt, Andrew Curlewis, Merrick Bremner, CJ du Plessis, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu, Christiaan Basson, Danie van Tonder, Hennie du Plessis, Greg Bentley, Gert Myburgh, Tyron McComb, Brett Liddle, Ganeev Giddie
76 - De Waal Botha, Clayton Bridges, Allister de Kock, Martin Rominger, Ryan Bernard, Dwayne Basson, Theunis Spangenberg, MJ Viljoen
77 - Jason Froneman, Derick Petersen, Jason Viljoen, Kayyam Rauf Mandhu, Arthur Horne, Erik van Rooyen, Andre Cruse
78 - Tyrone Ryan, Gideon Pienaar, Roy Da Costa
79 - Robert Wiederkehr, Stephen Ferreira, Jack Kutumane
80 - Johan Engelbrecht
81 - Ben Fouchee, Edwin Kutara
82 - JP Laubscher
83 - Conor Thornton, Callie Swart
85 - Shane Granger