Golden stretch round turn gives Strydom Ebotse lead

Mar 18, 2021 | Featured, Sunshine Tour

Tristen Strydom carded a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the first-round lead of the Sunshine Tour’s Gauteng Championship at Ebotse Golf and Country Estate.

On a day when many of the other players struggled, especially when the wind came up in the afternoon, Strydom was flawless on a tough course as he took a one-stroke lead over Kyle Barker, who, similarly, did not drop a shot on his way to seven-under-par.

“It was a great way to start,” said Strydom. “I haven’t been starting tournaments too well of late, and it’s good to get those first round woes out of the way. We’ve been playing tournaments for three weeks now and the first couple of events there was still a bit of rust. But today I was really comfortable. I really putted well and holed some nice putts. No bogeys also helps.”

In a golden stretch around the turn, Strydom made an eagle and five birdies from the sixth to the 13th holes, after opening with five solid pars. He completed his scoring with a birdie on the long par-five 18th.

Since the Tour’s return following lockdown in August last year, Strydom has been making a strong push for a maiden Sunshine Tour title and came close in last September’s Titleist Championship on the Rise-Up Series before finishing second to George Coetzee. This year he’s been on an upward curve, finishing tied ninth in the Kit Kat Group Pro-Am and then tied sixth in the Players Championship.

The winner of the Players Championship, Jaco Prinsloo, got it to eight-under until he went up the 18th. His tee-shot found the water on the left, so he ended up having to take a double-bogey seven there. His six-under put him in a share of sixth with Paul Boshoff and veteran former South African Open champion James Kingston.

In a round that typified how many struggled with a difficult course, Michael Hollick made a hole-in-one on the eighth – but he also had three double-bogeys, two bogeys and three birdies.

For Strydom, with three rounds to go, it’s very much a case of taking it one day at a time. “I’m just trying to control what I can,” he said. “That’s my mindset. I’m not too worried about results but more concerned with sticking to what I believe in and enjoy. I refreshed my body and mind in December and it’s been good to play without any doubts in my mind. It’s only the first day so I won’t make too much of it yet.”

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