Amateur Victor Lange took full advantage of his invite to play in a Sunshine Big Easy Tour event and finished up his round in 69 blows to take the lead at Maccauvlei Golf Club.
ÂI played pretty nicely Â my 69 came from three birdies and no drops, so that was good. I got to three-under through 11 and then finished with seven straight pars, so IÂm hoping in the next 18 I can finish a bit better,Â he said.
The first round had to be split over two days due to snowy conditions, yet the youngster played out of his skin on both days, reaching three-under-par and claiming a one-stroke lead over Henk Alberts and Jeff Inglis.
ÂThat was a first for me,Â said Lange. ÂIÂve definitely played in every type of weather now! It was the coldest IÂve ever been on a golf course. You just have to stick to your guns, because the weather is the same for everybody.Â
Lange holds eighth place on the South African Golf AssociationÂs (SAGA) Open Amateur ranking. He received his invite as part of a golf development initiative between the Sunshine Tour and SAGA, which provides 40 invites to amateurs over the course of the 11 tournaments on the Big Easy Tour schedule.
Maccauvlei was the perfect course for him to compete against the pros Â he won the SA Boys under-19 Amateur Championship there in April last year and feels confident around the track.
ÂI love this golf course Â I won the SA Boys here. I know the course very well, and the greens are running nicely, which makes it great to play,Â he said.
Alberts shot an impressive 70, and held the clubhouse lead for most of the day. He grew up in the area, and his fond memories on this course certainly helped him on his way to two-under.
ÂIÂm quite happy with two-under, especially considering all of the delays and the bad weather. After playing at Sun City last week, where the greens are also quick, I began to get the feel again. That definitely helped me here.
ÂI grew up in Vanderbijlpark, just 20 minutes from here. As a schoolboy I played here a lot, and itÂs always nice to come back to your home area. IÂve lived in Pretoria for a while now, and IÂm not used to this cold any more, but itÂs good to get back to your roots,Â he said.
Joining him in a share of second was Inglis, who tied for eighth at Big Easy Maccauvlei last year. He took victory at Kempton Park Golf Club earlier this season and will be after a second win to secure his spot in the Tour Championship.