Ian Snyman carded a five-under-par 67 on Monday to take the first-round lead of the Big Easy IGT Challenge Tour’s Road to the Sunshine Tour #15 at Riviera on Vaal.
He made six birdies, and dropped just a single shot with a bogey on the 18th to carve out a three-stroke lead over Michael-James Steyn, Michael Kok and DK Kim of Korea. There were seven players a further shot back on one-under-par 71 in a share of fifth place.
Snyman started strongly, with birdies on the second and the third, and he kept things tidy for the rest of the opening nine, picking up one more stroke on the eighth with a birdie on the par-five there. He started the homeward nine very well too, with birdies on 10 and 11, and another on 16. The bogey on 18 meant he missed out on taking a four-stroke edge into the second round of the 54-hole event.
“It was a lip-out on my par-putt,” said Snyman. “I had hit a good four-iron from 205 metres to the heart of the green, and I left my first putt about four-and-a-half feet short. The second putt lipped out and cam straight back at me. In fact, the same thing happened to me on 17, but that was a birdie putt that lipped out.”
Despite those two episodes, Snyman says his putting is solid at the moment. “It has been for the past three or four weeks,” he said. “My whole game is in pretty good shape, actually, so that’s good, but the putting is making a big difference at the moment.”
Snyman won the IGT pro-am tournament on the course at the weekend, and he has certainnly found that useful as he began his effort to win the professional tournament. “I had a good look at it over the weekend,” he said, “and it helped with the wind up today. I knew where I needed to miss if I was going to miss, and that’s a pretty big advantage.”
The advantage showed as his nearest pursuers all made more bogeys than he did: Steyn and Kok made three each, and Kim two.