Oliver Bekker clicked into gear on Thursday with a bogey-free five-under-par 67 in the first round of the DP World Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Championship at Al Hamra Golf Club in the United Arab Emirates.
Bekker had a great start, with birdies on one an two, and then again on seven and nine. And although he was able to pick up only one more stroke on the homeward nine, he finished the fist round in a share of fifth, three shots off the lead. The lead was held by Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune, who reeled off an incredible six successive birdies to start his round. He made one more on the front nine to turn in 29, and he made two more on the back nine before making bogey on the final hole. Matthew Baldwin of England, Dane Rasmus Hojgaard and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari shared second on six-under.
There were good starts by a few of the other South Africans, too: Louis de Jager had a four-under 68 for a share of 11th, and Bryce Easton and Zander Lombard were in a share of 18th on three-under.
Shaun Norris, Justin Walters and George Coetzee were on one-under in a share of 53rd on one-under, JC Ritchie was on level-par, Deon Germishuys and Thriston Lawrence were on one-over, and Daniel van Tonder battled to a four-over 76.