Home favourite Louis Oosthuizen wielded a red-hot putter to bag six birdies on his back nine and card an opening round 62 for a one-shot lead at the European Tour’s South African Open on Thursday.
Oosthuizen’s faultless round included nine birdies and he leads from Zambian Madalitso Muthiya and last weekend?s winner at the Mauritius Open, American Kurt Kitayama, who both carded eight-under-par rounds of 63.
For Ireland’s Gavin Moynihan, the form that saw him claim a share of 11th in Mauritius last week deserted him as he slumped to an opening round 75 which included a double bogey and a triple bogey. That left the Dubliner ar four over par and needing a miracle to make the cut on Friday, as does compatriot Neil O’Briain who shot a 76.
Oosthuizen and Muthiya played on the shorter Bushwillow Course at the Randpark Golf Club, which saw most of the low scoring on Thursday, while Kitayama teed off on the more formidable Firethorn Course to put himself into an excellent position.
Oosthuizen has never won his national Open championship before but is the highest-ranked player in this year’s field and has some form after finishing in third place at the Nedbank Challenge last month.
Having turned at three under par, his superb approach to the 11th set up a second birdie in succession on the back nine, which turned into a hat-trick on the par-five 12th.
He managed further gains at 14, 16 and 17 for his lowest round on tour since the 2014 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“My game’s good, it’s trending in the direction I want it to be,” Oosthuizen told reporters earlier in the week.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done to really be where I want it to be but I’ve been doing a lot of different things with my coach and just getting a feel for a few more things.”
Muthiya had a contrasting round in which he landed five birdies in his first six holes, before slowing up on the back nine having turned in 29.
Kitayama also started with a birdie blitz in four of his first five holes and added an eagle on the par-five 14th, before finishing the 18th with another shot gained to tie for second.
The South African Open is the golf?s second oldest national championship having first been played in 1893, and this year has been combined with the Joburg Open into one event.
The highest finishing three non-exempt players this week will gain exemption for the Open Championship at Royal Portrush next July, with 2010 Open winner Oosthuizen already on the entry list.
Collated first round scores in the European Tour South African Open hosted by the City of Johannesburg, Randpark GC, Johannesburg, South Africa (Britain unless stated, Irish in bold):
62 Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa)
63 Madalitso Muthiya (Zam)
65 Matt Wallace, Tyrone Ferreira (Rsa), Mark Williams (Zim)
66 Marcel Siem (Ger), Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Tom Murray, Jbe Kruger (Rsa), Ernie Els (Rsa), David Mcintyre (Rsa), Branden Grace (Rsa)
67 Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Matthew Jordan, Anthony Michael (Rsa), Stuart Manley, Dean Burmester (Rsa), (a) Jovan Rebula (Rsa), Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Gregory Havret (Fra)
68 Martin Wiegele (Aut), Ben Evans, Anton Haig (Rsa), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Callum Shinkwin, Ryan Cairns (Zim), Henric Sturehed (Swe), Duncan Stewart, Jarin Todd (USA), Jeff Winther (Den), Marc Warren, Eirik Tage Johansen (Nor), Jake Redman (Rsa), Per Langfors (Swe), Bryce Easton (Rsa)
69 Justin Harding (Rsa), Matthew Nixon, Guido Migliozzi (Spa), Dawie Van Der Walt (Rsa), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Daniel Van Tonder (Rsa), David Lipsky (USA), Austin Connelly (Can), Marcel Schneider (Ger)
70 Carlos Pigem (Spa), Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), Mitch Waite, Adrien Saddier (Fra), Michael Hollick (Rsa), Joachim B. Hansen (Den), Robert Karlsson (Swe), Thriston Lawrence (Rsa), Rhys West (Rsa), Chris Paisley, Paul Peterson (USA), Michiel Bothma (Rsa), Yi-Keun Chang (Kor), JJ Senekal (Rsa), Justin Walters (Rsa), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Stephen Ferreira (Por), Joel Girrbach (Swi)
71 Desne Van Den Bergh (Rsa), Andre Nel (Rsa), Garth Mulroy (Rsa), Joseph Dean, George Coetzee (Rsa), Miguel Angel Carballo (Arg), Simon Forsstrom (Swe), Nicholaus Frade (a) (Rsa), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Louis Ger Jager (Rsa), Sean Crocker (USA), Baejong Park (Kor)
72 Grant Forrest, Ruan Korb (Rsa), Lyle Rowe (Rsa), Sebastian Soderberg (Swe), Andre Ger Decker (Rsa), Roberto Lupini (Rsa), Jack Senior, Titch Moore (Rsa), Clement Sordet (Fra), (a) Christo Lamprecht (Rsa), Ajeetesh Sandhu (Ind), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Deyen Lawson (Aus), Ryan Evans, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Scott Vincent (Zim), Ruan Conradie (Rsa)
73 Toto Thimba Jnr (Rsa), Oliver Wilson, Rhys Enoch, Francois Coetzee (Rsa), Jean-Paul Strydom (Rsa), David Drysdale, Hennie Du Plessis (Rsa), Wallie Coetsee (Rsa), Jaco Prinsloo (Rsa), Musiwalo Nethunzwi (Rsa), Chris Cannon
74 Andrew Curlewis (Rsa), S Chikkarangappa (Ind), Allister Ger Kock (Rsa), Pieter Moolman (Rsa), Jabulani Mabulani (Rsa), Daniel Gavins
75 Leon Visser (Rsa), Derick Petersen (Rsa), Borja Virto (Spa), Fredrik From (Swe), Franklin Manchest (Rsa), Kim Koivu (Fin)
76 Marco Iten (Swi), Kyle Pilgrim (USA), Mathias Gronberg (Swe), Scott Jamieson
79 Ulrich Van Den Berg (Rsa)
63 Kurt Kitayama (USA)
64 Zander Lombard (Rsa)
66 Max Schmitt (Ger), Jake Roos (Rsa)
67 Charl Schwartzel (Rsa)
68 Merrick Bremner (Rsa), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Jack Harrison, Matias Calderon (Chi)
69 Alex Haindl (Rsa), Hennie Otto (Rsa), (a) Kristoffer Reitan (Nor), Wilco Nienaber (a) (Rsa), Romain Langasque (Fra), Vaughn Groenewald (Rsa), Ewan Ferguson
70 Michael G Palmer (Rsa), Jacques Blaauw (Rsa), Yubin Jung (Rsa), Shaun Norris (Rsa), Niklas Lemke (Swe), CJ Du Plessis (Rsa), Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa), David Borda (Spa), (a) Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (Spa), Deon Germishuys (a) (Rsa), Daniel Greene (Rsa), Robert Macintyre, John Catlin (USA), Trevor Fisher Jnr (Rsa), Dimitrios Papadatos (Aus)
71 Steven Brown, Duane Keun (Rsa), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Jaco Ahlers (Rsa), Brandon Stone (Rsa), Yan-wei Liu (Chn), Heinrich Bruiners (Rsa), Callum Mowat (Rsa), Pablo Larrazabal (Spa), Ockie Strydom (Rsa), Keith Horne (Rsa), Colin Nel (Rsa), Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Steve Surry, Ross McGowan
72 Neil Schietekat (Rsa), Jared Harvey (Rsa), Steven Lecuyer (Can), Jose-Filipe Lima (Por), Laurie Canter, Ruan Ger Smidt (Rsa), MJ Viljoen (Rsa), Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Jeunghun Wang (Kor), Minkyu Kim (Kor)
73 (a) Louis Albertse (Rsa), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Rourke Van Der Spuy (Rsa), Keelan Africa (Rsa), Yurav Premlall (a) (Rsa), Alejandro Canizares (Spa), Connor Syme, Alexander Knappe (Ger), Keenan Davidse (Rsa), Breyten Meyer (Rsa), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Spa), Fezekile Kana (Rsa), Christiaan Basson (Rsa), Max Orrin, Wynand Dingle (Rsa), Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Richard Sterne (Rsa)
74 Dean O’riley (Rsa), Khalin Joshi (Ind), Filippo Bergamaschi (Ita), Jack Singh Brar, Herman Loubser (a) (Rsa), Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Oliver Farr, Scott Gregory
75 Riekus Nortje (Rsa), Malcolm Kokocinski (Swe), Bryce Myburgh (Rsa), David Gleeson (Aus), Christofer Blomstrand (Swe), Espen Kofstad (Nor), Philip Eriksson (Swe), Viraj Madappa (Ind), Nick Cullen (Aus), Gavin Moynihan (Irl), Hyo-won Park (Kor), Casey O’Toole (USA), Luke Jerling (Rsa), James Kamte (Rsa), Michael Hoey
76 Liam Johnston, Bowen Xiao (Chn), Chase Koepka (USA), Lionel Weber (Fra), Morten Orum Madsen (Den), Neil O’Briain (Irl)
77 Altaaf Bux (Rsa)
78 Kristian Krogh Johannessen (Nor), Marthin Scheepers (Rsa), Tyrone Ryan (Rsa), Makhetha Mazibuko (Rsa), Doug McGuigan, Kyle Barker (Rsa), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Jean Hugo (Rsa)
79 Luke Joy, Jake Higginbottom (Aus)
80 (a) Matt Saulez (Rsa), Cameron Moralee (a) (Rsa), Berry Henson (USA), Conway Kunneke (Rsa), Marc Cayeux (Zim), Jonathan Agren (Swe)
81 Pavit Tangkamolprasert (Tha)