The Cape Town local made the most of benign conditions at the oldest course in South Africa and reached the clubhouse on eight-under-par, two shots behind leader Andrew Georgiou.
“This morning was absolutely perfect,” said Basson. “There wasn’t a breath of wind during the first nine holes, so it was great for scoring. I got a couple of birdies going early into my round and it felt like I took advantage of the weather.”
The four-time Sunshine Tour winner grew up in the Western Cape and put his knowledge of Royal Cape to good use.
“It’s a classic parklands track with a lot of trees and you have to be straight off the tee. The course is really well manicured at the moment. It’s nice to play well at home and I’ve got a lot of support here, so I’m very happy,” he said.
Basson was glad to be sleeping in his own bed for the week, which is a rare treat for a touring professional. He was clearly enjoying the atmosphere in his home city and it translated into him playing superb golf on Thursday.
“It’s a pity that we only have one or two tournaments in Cape Town, we should have a few more. It’s marvellous down here and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. There is so much to do off the golf course around here, so it’s a really great city,” he said.
Three events remain on the Sunshine Tour calendar, so it’s the correct time for Basson to be peaking. On Thursday it took a combination of good form and a quality track for him to produce such a low score.
“You’ve got to try to ride the wave for as long as you can. I’m happy to be scoring well and for the most part I am playing solidly. Today I was most happy with my putting. I also hit some good wedge shots and that helped me to recover from the one or two bad shots that I hit,” he said.
Erik Van Rooyen also carded 64 to start off the R1,2-million tournament. He came out firing from his tee off on the 10th, birdied his first three holes out, and never really slowed from there onward. He also made three consecutive birdies on his second nine and eventually made the clubhouse in a share of the lead.
Justin Harding took up fourth place after shooting an impressive 66, but he was in the same three-ball as Basson and joked that his six-under-par score “wasn’t good enough.”