Hennie du Plessis carded a six-under-par 65 on Thursday in the first round of the DP World Tour’s acciona Open de España at Club de Campo Villa de Madrid in Madrid to be in a share of seventh place.
He was two strokes off the lead which was shared by China’s Ashun Wu, Darius van Driel of the Netherlands and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat. They were a stroke ahead of local hero Jon Rahm, France’s Matthieu Pavon and Swede Joakim Lagergren. Du Plessis shared seventh with the veteran Scottish duo of Stephen Gallacher and David Drysdale.
It was an eventful round for Du Plessis, who made birdies on the second, the fourth, the seventh and the eighth before he dropped a shot on the ninth. He made five birdies on the homeward nine, on the 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th and 18th, but there were bogeys on the 12th and 17th which stopped him from going really low and grabbing the lead.
His first bogey came when he played his tee-shot on the par-three ninth into the right-hand greenside bunker. He left his sand shot short in the semi-rough at the edge of the green, and got down in two more from there. On the 12th, he pushed his approach to the par-four right of the green, and couldn’t get up and down to save par, and on the par-three 17th, he hit his tee-shot way long and left, had to take a penalty-drop and made four.
Brandon Stone had a solid start with a four-under-par 67 giving him a share of 14th and Daniel van Tonder was one stroke further back in a share of 21st. Zander Lombard had a two-under to open and Louis de Jager and Darren Fichardt were on level-par in a share of 69th.
Thriston Lawrence, Haydn Porteous and Wilco Nienaber were all on one-over, and Thomas Aiken was on two-over.