Fresh from his maiden professional victory, Attie Schwarztel put his good form to good use on Wednesday in the R600,000 Sun City Challenge to grab an early share of the first round lead.
The 25-year-old younger brother of 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel has had a solid year on the Sunshine Tour – five cuts made and lying 82nd on the Order of Merit – but his win in the Sunshine Big Easy Tour’s Houghton event last week lifted him to the top of that Order of Merit.
It also contributed to his share of the lead at the Lost City Golf Club with Ryan Tipping on five-under-par 67, one clear of Jared Harvey. “The win last week has a lot to do with the way I played today,” he said.
“I took a lot of confidence from last week, and I’m still hitting the ball as well as I did last week. And with that confidence, you start believing you can win on the Sunshine Tour as well,” he added.
He has a best finish of a share of 27th on the Sunshine Tour this year, and the start in the Sun City Challenge can set him on his way to a top-10 or better.
He started his round on the 10th, and was soon in red figures when he made eagle three on the 533-metre 11th. Two more birdies ahead of the turn, and he was four-under at the halfway mark. He dropped a shot on the 390-metre par-four sixth, but he had two more birdies on his closing nine.
Tipping had two bogeys and an eagle to go with his five birdies, and Harvey had just a single bogey in his 68.