South Africa’s Hennie du Plessis took full advantage of his invitation into the European Tour’s Commercial Bank Qatar Masters on Thursday as he opening up with a bogey-free six-under-par 65 to slip into a share of second place.
He was one of a group of four players on six-under, one stroke back from Scotland’s David Law whose seven-under-par was also bogey-free. Joining Du Plessis were Kalle Samooja of Finland, England’s Richard McEvoy and Italian Nino Bertasio.
Du Plessis, who has won once on the Sunshine Tour in Sishen in 2017, started his round on the 10th hole, and got things off to a flying start with three consecutive birdies on 12, 13 and 14. He picked up another shot on the 16th, and then things went a little quiet for him around the turn until he made birdies on seven and nine as he completed his round.
Garrick Higgo was the next best of the South Africans with a five-under-par 66 to his name. He too started on the 10th, and had a run of four consecutive birdies from the 12th as he turned in four-under. He birdied the first, but dropped a shot on the par-four third. He regained the dropped shot with a birdie on the seventh.
George Coetzee started fast from the 10th, getting it to seven-under through 13 holes. But then things went pear-shaped as he bogeyed five, birdies six and then made three consecutive bogeys to finish at four-under – still a good start.
Louis de Jager and Darren Fichardt were on three-under, Wilco Nienaber, Shaun Norris and Brandon Stone two-under, Justin Harding one-under, Justin Walters and Zander Lombard two-over, Dean Burmester and Haydn Porteous three-over, and amateur Ruan Jordaan five-over.
The man who won last week’s Kit Kat Group Pro-Am on the Sunshine Tour, Rhys Enoch of Wales, was two-under.