Knysna – A brilliant opening eight-under-par 64 on Thursday catapulted Jaco Prinsloo into the first-round lead of the R750,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Simola Golf and Country Estate.
He carded four-under 32 on each of his nines in a bogey-free round to edge one clear of Zander Lombard and Portugal’s Stephen Ferreira, with Jacques Blaauw and Zimbabwe’s Marc Cayeux sharing fourth spot with their six-under 66s.
“I really played nicely today,” said Prinsloo. “I putted well on my front nine, and continued to hit the ball well through my back nine, and I had a good finish with a birdie on the ninth.”
Prinsloo has been playing well for the last month-and-a-half on the Sunshine Tour, with three top-10s and a share of 16th in his last four tournaments. That’s after a start to the season that was peppered with four missed cuts.
“I’ve been working on enjoying the game again and having fun with my mates – that’s when you play your best golf,” he said. “You don’t have to think too much. It doesn’t matter what the result is – I’m going to enjoy my golf.”
Part of the result of that enjoyment is clearly that he plays well enough to have to keep an eye on what the players around him are doing, but he even eschewed that. “I didn’t check the leaderboards,” he said. “I don’t want to put any unnecessary pressure on myself. I just kept my head down and tried to make as many birdies as I could.”
There was also the question of being aware of the need to keep bogeys off the card. “It definitely crosses your mind at a certain point in a round that you’ve made no bogeys,” he said. “Somewhere along my back nine, it crossed my mind. But I brushed it aside and I never thought about it again.”
Lombard dropped just one shot in his round, but it was his opening nine which caught the eye, as he turned in seven-under 29, seven-under-par. “I’m very pleased. I hit the ball phenomenally today, I putted well, did everything well,” he said. “I just sort of hit the brakes on the back nine, but I played really well for that level-par coming home. I just didn’t quite make the putts I made on the front nine.”
Ferreira also dropped a shot, but an eagle on his 16th – the seventh after he had started on the 10th – took him to seven-under for the round and the share of second.
For Prinsloo, it’s all about riding the wave of putting success he’s experiencing at the moment. “The greens are a bit tricky, so I’d say I putted really well today,” he said. “It’s a part of my game that has been particularly good over the last couple of weeks. I changed putters at Zimbali and it’s really changed my game, and opened up a few doors for me.
“A win does feel as if it’s getting closer. I’m playing well but you can never look too far into the future. If I keep doing what I’m doing, I hope a win will come along.”
64 - Jaco Prinsloo
65 - Zander Lombard, Stephen Ferreira
66 - Jacques Blaauw, Marc Cayeux
67 - Daniel Greene, Colin Nel, Jean-Paul Strydom, Matias Calderon, Jean Hugo, Chris Swanepoel, Ockie Strydom
68 - Andrew Georgiou, Jason Smith, Matthew Spacey, Vaughn Groenewald, Stuart Smith, Neil Schietekat, Andrew van der Knaap
69 - Tyrone Ferreira, Teaghan Gauche, Lyle Rowe, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Keenan Davidse, Jason Froneman, Theunis Spangenberg, Doug McGuigan, Pieter Kruger, Wynand Dingle, Eugen Marugi, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Coert Groenewald, Ryan Cairns, Makhetha Mazibuko, Breyten Meyer, Kyle Barker, Andre Nel, Scott Campbell
70 - MJ Viljoen, Martin Rominger, Anton Haig, Thanda Mavundla, Jason Viljoen, Stefan Engell Andersen, Peter Karmis, Omar Sandys, Oliver Bekker, Steven Ferreira, Charl Coetzee, Michael Palmer
71 - Irvin Mazibuko, Thriston Lawrence, Rhys West, N.J. Arnoldi, Morne Buys, Gerard du Plooy, Dayne Moore, Louis de Jager, Wallie Coetsee, Titch Moore, Antonio Costa, Rourke van der Spuy, JC Ritchie, Desne Van Den Bergh, Justin Harding, Allister de Kock, Heinrich Bruiners, Sipho Bujela
72 - Ryan Tipping, Neil O'Briain, Tyrone Ryan, Jake Redman, Ulrich van den Berg, Aubrey Beckley, Francois Coetzee, Riekus Nortje, Jacquin Hess, Callum Mowat, CJ du Plessis, Hennie Otto, Lindani Ndwandwe
73 - Francois van Vuuren, Jared Harvey, PH McIntyre, Danie Van Niekerk, Andrew Curlewis, Gerrit Foster, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Quintin Wilsnach, Jaco Mouton
74 - Bryandrew Roelofsz, Sean Bradley, Martin Rohwer, Altaaf Bux, Alan Michell, Herman Loubser, Antonio Rosado, Dongkwan Kim, Gert Myburgh, Jason Diab, James Kamte, Michael Hollick, Dwayne Basson, Cameron Esau
75 - Greg Bentley, Bradford Vaughan, Allan Versfeld
76 - Combrinck Smit, Arthur Horne, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu
78 - Mohit Mediratta
RTD - Matthew Carvell