Keenan Davidse shakes off illness to take lead at Joburg Open
Gavin Moynihan has work cut out to make the cut after level-par opener
England’s James Morrison plays a shot during the first round of the Joburg Open at Randpark Golf Club. Photograph: Catherine Kotze/EPA
South African Keenan Davidse overcame illness to take a one-shot lead after the first round of the Joburg Open.
The local favourite missed the cut in Mauritius last week as a flu virus ran through his family, and checked himself into hospital for four days before teeing it up at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.
The 28-year-old showed no ill effects as he got round the Bushwillows Course in an eight-under-par 63 to lead the way from English duo Matthew Baldwin and James Morrison, South African trio Jared Harvey, Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen, and German Sebastian Heisele. A field of 240 were split over the Bushwillows and Firethorn courses, with all players playing the longer Firethorn over the weekend after the cut.
Davidse took advantage of his round on the shorter layout, birdieing the first, fourth, fifth, eighth, 11th, 12th, 14th, 17th and 18th with a single bogey on the sixth.
“When I played the Sunshine Tour event at Simola my little boy was sick with a bad chest,” he told europeantour.com. “Then my wife had flu and then I got flu and lost a lot of weight. I couldn’t deal with that and the heat in Mauritius so I checked myself into hospital for four days.
“I didn’t really have any expectations coming into the week. I’m just out here to have fun, so I’m very blessed to be playing well. It’s always nice leading a big tournament and especially the Joburg Open.”
Baldwin had to come through the European Tour Qualifying School in November after losing his playing privileges and he carded eagles on the par-five first and 12th to go with four birdies and a bogey, with Morrison bogey-free in his round of 64.
“It was great getting two eagles.”said Baldwin. “To start with an eagle is very nice and then to follow it up on 12 was a good feeling. I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing when I take on Firethorn tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t play last week in Mauritius, but hopefully this week I can make amends.”
Gavin Moynihan is the only Irish golfer in the field and opened with a level-par 72 on the longer Firethorn Course.
The 23-year-old from Drogheda missed the cut in Mauritius, his initial European Tour event after coming through Qualifying School, and faces an uphill task to make the weekend in Johannesburg with level par only enough for a share of 119th position in the enlarged field.
Moynihan dropped shots at the first and third holes and turned in one over after a birdie on the eighth. A bogey on the 12th saw him go back out to two over but birdies on the 14th and 18th got him back to level par.
FIRST ROUND SCOREBOARD
(South Africa unless stated; Irish in bold)
Bushwillow Course (par 71)
63 Keenan Davidse
64 Ockie Strydom, Sebastian Heisele (Ger), Jared Harvey, Matthew Baldwin (Eng), Erik Van Rooyen, James Morrison (Eng)
65 Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Scott Barr (Aus), Adrian Meronk (Pol), Nathan Kimsey (Eng)
66 Daniel Brooks (Eng), Andrea Pavan (Ita), Ross McGowan (Eng)
67 Toby Tree (Eng), Jaco Ahlers, Tyrone Ryan, Chris Swanepoel, Henric Sturehed (Swe), Bryandrew Roelofsz, Stephen Ferreira (Por), Jaco Prinsloo, Chris Cannon (Eng)
68 Steven Brown (Eng), Garrick Porteous (Eng), Stuart Manley (Wal), Jacquin Hess, Sam Horsfield (Eng), Bryce Easton, Justin Walters, Herman Loubser
69 Marcus Armitage (Eng), Martin Rohwer (RSA), Zack Byrd (USA), Gary Stal (Fra), Jack Harrison (Eng), Bradley Neil (Sco), Marc Cayeux (Zim), Marcus Both (Aus), Peter Karmis, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Benjamin Follet-Smith (Zim), Rhys West, Oliver Farr (Wal)
70 Thomas Aiken, Anders Hansen (Den), Birgir Hafthorsson (Ice), Matt Ford (Eng), Jazz Janewattananond (Tha), Andrew Van Der Knaap, Jake Redman, Rourke Van Der Spuy, Johannes Veerman (USA), Louis De Jager, Mark Williams (Zim), Hennie Otto, Charlie Ford (Eng), Jake Roos, Breyten Meyer, Oscar Lengden (Swe), Matthew Carvell, Dylan Frittelli, Matthew Spacey, Jack Munro (Aus)
71 Michael G Palmer, Andre Nel, Doug McGuigan, Heinrich Bruiners, Cody Martin (USA), Duncan Stewart (Sco), Kenneth Dube, Kyle McClatchie, Muswalo Nethunzwi, Martin Wiegele (Aut), Coert Groenewald, David Howell (Eng), Ashley Chesters (Eng), Zander Lombard, Jason Knutzon (USA), Combrinck Smit, Christiaan Basson, Daniel Van Tonder, Madalitso Muthiya (Zim), Mark Foster (Eng)
72 Mikael Lundberg (Swe), Justin Harding, Kalle Samooja (Fin), Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Grant Forrest (Sco), Jonathan Agren (Swe), Matias Calderon (Chile), Jarin Todd (USA), Tyrone Ferreira, Casey O’Toole (USA), Joel Girrbach (Switz), Wynand Dingle, Jens Dantorp (Swe)
73 Clinton Grobler, Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Ryan Cairns (Zim)
74 Steve Lewton (Eng), Joel Stalter (Fra), NJ Arnoldi, Yan-wei Liu (Chn), Jason Froneman, John Michael O’Toole (USA), Paul Howard (Eng), Aubrey Beckley, Suradit Yongcharoenchai (Tha)
75 Jason Viljoen, Christopher Mivis (Bel)
76 Phumlani Maluka, Jason Diab, Dayne Moore (Zim), Dwayne Basson, Alexander Knappe (Ger), Thanda Mavundla
77 Dylan Naidoo, Scott Henry (Sco)
78 Danie Van Niekerk
Firethorn Course (par 72):
66 Oliver Lindell (Fin), Joachim B Hansen (Den), Dean Burmester, Oliver Bekker, Richard McEvoy (Eng), Mikko Korhonen (Fin)
67 Carlos Pigem (Esp)
68 Terry Pilkadaris (Aus), Tom Lewis (Eng), MJ Viljoen, Lionel Weber (Fra), Romain Langasque (Fra), George Coetzee, Jean Hugo
69 Adri Arnaus (Esp), Anthony Michael, Haydn Porteous, Shaun Norris, Pep Angles (Esp), Omar Sandys, Jin-ho Choi (S Kor), Aaron Rai (Eng), Shubhankar Sharma (Ind), Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha), Adrien Saddier (Fra), Keith Horne, Theunis Spangenberg, Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn)
70 Steve Webster (Eng), Ulrich Van Den Berg, Christofer Blomstrand (Swe), Jake Higginbottom (Aus), Callum Tarren (Eng), Paul Peterson (USA), Jacques Kruyswijk, Kristian Krogh Johannessen (Nor), Jeff Winther (Den), Daniel Greene, Gavin Green (Mal), Alfie Plant (Eng)
71 Ben Evans (Eng), Pontus Widegren (Swe), JC Ritchie, Scott Fernandez (Esp), Hennie Du Plessis, Dawie Van Der Walt, Lyle Rowe, Marco Iten (Switz), Andre De Decker, Toto Thimba, JJ Senekal, Sam Chien (USA), Scott Vincent (Zim), Vaughn Groenewald
72 Nico Geyger (Chile), David Law (Sco), Riekus Nortje, Jens Fahrbring (Swe), Neil Schietekat, Garth Mulroy, Javier Colomo (Esp), Makhetha Mazibuko, Johan Edfors (Swe), Jean-Paul Strydom, James Heath (Eng), Robert Macintyre (Sco), Joshua White (Eng), Stuart J Smith (Bot), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), Ruan De Smidt, Oscar Serna (Mex), Jbe Kruger, Tom Murray (Eng), James Kamte, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita)
73 Titch Moore, Chanwoo Kim (S Kor), Matt Wallace (Eng), Matthew Nixon (Eng), Teaghan Gauche, Ashun Wu (Chn), Andrew Curlewis, Tjaart Van Der Walt, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit (Tha), Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor), Connor Syme (Sco), Victor Perez (Fra), Ryan Tipping, Marcel Schneider (Ger)), Lindani Ndwandwe, Charl Coetzee
74 Alex Haindl, Jonathan Thomson (Eng), Stefan Engell Andersen (Ken), Josh Geary (NZ), Simon Khan (Eng), David Drysdale (Sco), Laurie Canter (Eng), Wallie Coetsee, Colin Nel, Steve Surry (Eng), Sutijet Kooratanapisan (Tha)
75 Petr Dedek (Cz), James Allan (Eng), Espen Kofstad (Nor), Luke Jerling , Callum Mowat, Darren Fichardt, Danthai Boonma (Tha)
76 Jacques Blaauw, Desne Van Den Bergh, Sipho Bujela
77 Hugo Leon (USA), Piya Swangarunporn (Tha), Scott Campbell (Eng)
78 Marcus Kinhult (Swe), Robin Williams (Eng, am), Irvin Mazibuko
79 Leorin Pillay
84 Cameron Esau