Attie Schwartzel moved into an attacking position at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour’s Houghton tournament on Tuesday, carding 68 to reach the clubhouse one stroke off the pace.
“My game is feeling solid and 68 is a good score. I kept calm today and played it shot-for-shot, which is crucial at Houghton, because you are going to have a few bad holes,” he said.
The Vereeniging local was one of 11 players to break par at Houghton Golf Club, where amateur Callum Mowat led with a five-under-par 67.
“I tried to avoid fairway bunkers and keep making greens in regulation,” said Schwartzel. “These greens have plenty of slopes and three of my bogeys today were the result of three-putts from within 15 feet.”
The 25-year-old has made five cuts from eight starts on the main tour this season and, with three runner-up results on the Big Easy Tour, is certainly due for a win.
“It will mean a lot if I can win this, because I’ve come second three times now. Two of those were playoff losses, and it feels like a win is on the cards,” he said.
Mowat, a 21-year-old amateur who has represented South Africa at a senior level, was the man to beat on Tuesday after he claimed the lead with an impressive 67.
“I had nothing to lose today and went out there looking to give myself some exposure to the professional scene. I had a lot of fun, but managed to keep my head while I was at it, so all together it was a great day,” he said.
The Modderfontein Golf Club amateur began on the back nine and birdied the 10th to get off to a confident start. He made a further five birdies during the day and felt confident in his routine.
“I received my invitation through the South African Golf Association and it has been a great opportunity for me. Today was a learning experience in sticking with my routine and it feels really good to lead,” he said.