8th February 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Ahlers shrugs off injury woes to shoot 67 at Eye of Africa PGA Champs
Jaco Ahlers says he is happy to be back in fitness and shooting five-under-par 67 in the opening round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship soon after returning from a three-week layoff due to injury.
“Shooting that score was really nice,” said Ahlers. “I’ve been off for a few weeks with a rib injury. We went to Mauritius for a holiday and I did too many water sports and cracked a rib. It was tough trying to play the BMW SA Open with it. I had a few injections and couldn’t really prepare for it but three weeks at home and not doing anything did me a lot of good.”
Now, back to full fitness, the 35-year old Koro Creek Country Club professional says he is feeling good and is ready to compete once more.
“All that is over now,” he said of his injury. “The hunger is back, which is nice. I think the off-time has done me a lot of good. I hit it really nicely today with the amount of practice I’ve been getting in. I started touching the club again only last week but yes, I am happy with the way I started”
After shooting an unblemished four-under on the front nine, which comprised of birdies on the first, the fourth, seventh and eighth holes to turn in 32, Ahlers was on course to be among the early leaders on day one at the Eye of Africa Signature Golf Course. His homeward stretch was not bad either, as he managed to make an eagle on the par-five 11th. The bogey on the par-three 12th threatened to halt his progress, but he made another birdie on 14 which was followed by an unwanted drop on the par-five 17th.
Thursday’s effort sees Ahlers among the leading players going into the second round and the six-time Sunshine Tour winner admits that he is only interested in winning the Eye of Africa PGA Championship trophy.
“Every tour or country has their own PGA Championship and this one has got a great history of winners and just how long it has been going on,” Ahlers said. “I finished second in it once, I think it was to Keith Horne, whom I played with today. I’d like a bit of revenge, especially on his home course. Any win is great but this is one of those you want.”
It is still early days and there’s still a lot of golf to be played, but a win here will eclipse the indifferent season he has had in Europe up to so far. After 18 starts there, Ahlers has missed nine cuts and admits it has been a difficult period.
“This last year in Europe has hurt me a bit, mentally, but the time off helped me a lot.” He said.