On Tuesday at The Open Championship’s International Final Qualifying Africa, Andrew Georgiou stood out by one stroke after carding an opening 65 during round one at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club.
“I made an eagle on the eighth hole after I hit a three-wood to three foot and all of a sudden the momentum changed. Eventually it clicked – today was just a matter of staying patient and taking the opportunities when they came,” he said.
The 26-year-old was one of the three qualifiers from IFQ-Africa 2012, and was keen for another chance to play at the world’s oldest major.
“It helps having done it once before. I enjoy this event and I really enjoyed The Open last year – there are a lot of great memories. Knowing what’s in store for you if you qualify really motivates you to get back there,” he said.
He’ll face stiff competition during the second and final round tomorrow, however, as the 75 entrants battle it out for the three spots on offer. This year’s IFQ field is as strong as it’s ever been – and amongst the contestants are eight European Tour winners and 28 Sunshine Tour winners.
At the close of the first round … players shared second on six-under. England’s Darryn Lloyd set the mark in the clubhouse with his 66, and made it clear that the scoring would be low at the East Course of Royal Johannesburg & Kensington.
He was soon joined by Justin Harding, who has watched The Open on television since he was a boy. Another good round on Wednesday could earn him a place at a tournament that he could only wish to play in.
“I think it will be an amazing experience to play The Open. Every youngster watched the tournament and it was special to watch Ernie Els win it, both last year and at Muirfield in 2002. To possibly follow in his footsteps would be awesome,” said Harding.
Jake Roos was the third player to reach the clubhouse at six-under, and was pleased to get the 36-hole tournament off to such a good start. “To play in the biggest major would be more than just a step up, and I would love a taste of the experience!” he said.
Desvonde Botes and Eduardo de la Riva shared fifth on five-under-par, while Dean Burmester took hold of sole seventh on four-under. A further three players shared eighth on three-under-par.