Solid 1-under start leaves Van Rooyen 8 back in Hawaii

Jan 5, 2024 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Erik van Rooyen opened solidly enough on Thursday with a one-under-par 72 in the first round of The Sentry at Plantation Course at Kapalua Golf Club in Kapalua, Hawaii.

However, in the limited 59-man field, that left him down in a share of 53rd place after he made three birdies and two bogeys. It also left him eight shots off the lead which was held by American Sahith Theegala, who made 10 birdies and a bogey in his nine-under-par 64. Theegala was one stroke clear of countryman Collin Morikawa, Colombia’s Camilo Villegas, Korean Sungjae Im, Jason Day of Australia and Norwegian Viktor Hovland. There were also five players on seven-under-par 66 in a share of seventh, including world number one Scottie Scheffler.

On a glorious day on which the course’s only defence – the wind – was absent, 18 players were at 67 or lower. Even bad starts turned out well: Justin Rose went out in 40 and had six birdies on the back to salvage a 71.

Van Rooyen started with a birdie on the second, but made tow bogeys in a row on the fifth and sixth. He was unable to string together much of anything on the homeward nine, such as the six birdies in a row Theegala made on the way home, and birdies on 12 and 16 left him with a lot to do in the final three rounds of the no-cut ‘Signature Event’ which opens the 2024 season on the revamped PGA Tour schedule.

As part of the tour’s response to the threat posed by LIV Golf, the prize fund for this event is $20-million.

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