Casandra Hall says she’s naturally an aggressive golfer, and she used that to good effect on Wednesday as she made an eagle on the 18th to take the first-round lead of the Sunshine Ladies Tour’s Investec Royal Swazi Open at Gary Player Country Club.
She made 13 points in the modified stableford format – five points for an eagle, two for a birdie, nine for a par, minus one for a bogey and minus three for a double are the most common in the format – to take a substantial 12-point lead over Nicole Garcia.
Hall made the eagle on 18 – the ninth, for those familiar with the way the course plays for the Nedbank Golf Challenge. “The wind had come up quite nicely from behind,” she said. “I said to my caddie that I was going to smash the drive and go for the green in two.
“I ended up having a seven-iron in, and hit possibly my best iron shot of the day to within three metres. I had a little downhill left-to-righter and I made it.”
Hall also made four birdies, but the key to her success was keeping bogeys off the card. “I haven’t made many bogeys in my last 10 competitive rounds,” she said. “You don’t want to make bogeys at any time, but especially not in this format. You lose one point if you do, but you make two if you make birdie, so it helps that I am usually an aggressive player.
“You can be especially aggressive on the par-fives here, and I took advantage of that on all of them, except the 11th, which was playing quite long.”
Hall spend the early part of the return from lockdown trying her hand on the IGT Tour, where she played three times in men’s fields and finished inside the top five on each occasion. “I worked really hard since lockdown,” she said. “One’s perspective really changes, and it was good to test myself against the guys, to keep them on their toes!”
It’s a small six-woman field as the women play in the same tournament as the 72-man field on the Sunshine Tour.