Ockie leading SA challenge at Leopard Creek

Nov 26, 2020 | Featured, Sunshine Tour

Ockie Strydom braved the heat at Leopard Creek, navigating his way to a four-under-par 68 opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship – the highest finish of any South African – where he trails France’s Robin Roussel and Adrian Meronk of Poland by three shots.

Strydom’s first-round front nine was blemish-free and characterised by birdies on the 11th – his second hole of the day, having teed off from the 10th hole – and the par-three sixth. After the turn, Strydom made back-to-back birdies to push himself up the leaderboard at four-under-par before seven straight pars made up the rest of his round.

“It was very hot out there,” Strydom said with some relief after his round. “And the wind came up quite a bit. Happy with the score because it was tough.”

Taking up the third spot on the leaderboard is Scotland’s Scott Jamieson after a beautifully crafted six-under 66 opening round. At five-under and fourth on the leaderboard is England’s Richard Bland while Strydom, Gavin Green and David Horsey share fifth at four-under.

“I don’t look at the scores, normally,” said Jamieson. “I’m just trying to play the best I can. I just kept myself calm through the round. Scoring was tough out there but it’s early days, so we will see what happens.”

Roussel was equally happy to get his Alfred Dunhill week off to a great start.

“I started the round pretty well so that put me a little bit in confidence,” he said. “I had a bunch of good birdies and good putts especially. I’m lucky to have Army on the bag, who is a local so he gets to read the greens pretty well.

“And he helped a lot. I had quality putts on the tenth, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th. I think without him I wouldn’t have been able to put all these in. But yeah, good drives, good iron shots and good putts so I’m quite happy.”

Strydom’s countrymen Jbe’ Kruger, Christiaan Bezuidenhout who is the highest-ranking South African player in this field, the young Jayden Schaper and the in-form Daniel Van Tonder are among 14 players tied for position eight at three-under-par.

By Matthews Mfubu

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