By Matthews Mfubu (Fullpage Media and Communications)
The first tournament of the new season of the Altron Big Easy Tour got off to a flying start on the Bushwillow track at Randpark Golf Club, with Leon Vorster and last season’s Order of Merit winner, Gerhard Pepler, co-leading-after Tuesday’s opening round.
Both men carded rounds of 65 and while Pepler was flawless on his way to his seven-under-par, Vorster showed some grit as he shrugged off two bogeys on his homeward nine to produce an eventful round of his own. Theirs was a slender lead, however, because hot on their heels and just a single stroke off the pace, was the trio of Francois van der Walt, Leon Visser and Mauritius’ Pierre Pellegrin.
“I played really well today,” said Vorster, who plays out of Vryburg Golf Club. “I thought I got a bit lucky on the 10th: I nearly lost my ball but I found it in the nick of time. I made a bogey there but I will take it and move on. To be honest, I worked very hard in the last couple of months and it’s good to see it paying off.
“The course is in a very good condition and the greens are very pure and fast. I know there is still a lot of golf to be played and I just want to take it hole by hole and see where it all goes because the quality of these Big Easy Tour fields is just excellent. So, thank you to Altron for giving us these opportunities to be able to compete at such a high level.”
Having teed off from the 10th and with Silverlakes Golf Club’s Van der Walt already in the clubhouse with a 66, Vorster got straight to work. His bogey-free 31 on that stretch consisted of birdies on 10, 12, 14, 17 and the 18th. Two birdies and an eagle after the turn were enough to render those two drops rather unimportant as Vorster got off to a dream start.
Allister de Kock, DK Kim, Keegan Mclachlan and Makhetha Mazibuko also showed up with some impressive scores on day one of this season-opener, carding rounds of 67 each to share sixth on the leaderboard while keeping the leaders within reach. Making up the top 10 leading players after the first round at Randpark and on four-under-par were Ricky Hendler, Adriel Poonan, Nicholaus Frade, Noel Anderson and rookie Jonathan Broomhead.
This 54-hole tournament marks the beginning of a 12-event long season of this Sunshine Tour developmental tour which was first commissioned in 2011.