Darryn LloydÂs first-ever albatross came at the perfect time Â it secured an early three-stroke lead for him in round one of the R1,2-million Nashua Masters at Wild Coast Sun Country Club on Thursday.
ÂThat albatross was really unexpected; I was planning to make it onto the green and two-putt for a good four, but when I got onto the green I saw that it was in the hole,Â said Lloyd.
That standout moment came at the par-five seventh Â an aggressive drive took Lloyd to 144 metres from the pin. He then played in with a sand wedge and the shot just cleared a greenside bunker before bouncing twice and running into the hole for albatross.
After carding 64, the lowest round of his career, Lloyd said, ÂAny score round the level-par mark is a good score, and I was patient. A few bounces went my way, a few putts went in, and IÂm very, very pleased with that score.Â
Lloyd started on the back stretch and took off early in the round, carding a trio of birdies from the 11th to the 13th.
A further birdie at the 16th was offset by a bogey at the 18th and the 22-year-old turned at three-under.
The wind had picked up by the time Lloyd turned, making club selection crucial. ÂWhen youÂre going into the teeth of it the ball just doesnÂt go anywhere, and when itÂs downwind it becomes very difficult to stop it on the greens,Â he said.
Lloyd carded birdies at the third and fourth for his first taste of the lead, but the blustery conditions seemed to have got the better of him for a while and he went on to bogey the fifth and sixth.
But then came albatross at the seventh and Lloyd flew into his three-stroke lead.
He played out with two pars before signing for 64. ÂIÂll take that score,Â he said with a laugh.
A week after earning his 2012 PGA Tour card, Garth Mulroy was back in action and shot an opening 67 for an early claim of second, three strokes back from the lead.
Mulroy finished 21st on the Nationwide Tour money list and did well to card three-under without having played a practice round.
A further stroke back were Jean Hugo and Englishman Stuart Clark, who share third at two-under.
His albatross aside, Lloyd carded six birdies and flew to a lead that will be hard to match in such tough conditions.