Superb 65 gives Strydom 15 points and the Sun City lead

Ockie Strydom carded a brilliant seven-under-par 65 on Wednesday in the opening round of the Sunshine Tour’s Blue Label Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City.

In a tournament that uses the modified Stableford scoring system, his eight birdies and a bogey gave him 15 points and a one-point lead over leftie Ruan Korb, with Jayden Schaper and Welshman Rhys Enoch in a share of third on 13 points.

It was Strydom’s homeward nine which gave him the edge, as he tamed what fans of the Sun City course will know as the front nine of the Nedbank Golf Challenge with five birdies and no dropped shots to close in a superb 31. His only dropped shot came on the first hole – the par-five 10th in other tournaments – but he made three birdies in succession from the sixth to reach the turn in two-under.

“On the first hole I hit two in the bush and I thought ‘here we go!’. But I kept calm and then I changed my ball after five holes because that one wasn’t really working. I then got a lucky bounce on the sixth green and I just started making birdies,” Strydom said. “I was hitting it nicely off the tee, finding the fairways and then hitting my irons quite close. The putting then works out itself.

“Most of the previous events here have been in winter, when the ball really runs on the fairways. But now it’s softer, it feels a club or two longer than normal. But I like that because it means not everyone can attack the greens from long distance. They are very soft greens though and the ball either comes back or stops dead,” Strydom added.

The other players to get to double figures in points after the first round were Toto Thimba Jnr, who shot a four-under 68 for 11 points, and Jaco Ahlers, who was also four-under for his round but on 10 points.

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