Oliver Bekker made an eagle-three on his 16th hole on Thursday to move to five-under-par 66 and take a share of the early first round lead of the R600,000 Northern Cape Classic being played at the Kimberley Golf Club.
Bekker started his round on the 10th hole, and his wedge in to the 478-metre par-five seventh ended up two feet from the pin to give him eagle and a share of the lead with Alex Haindl on the 6,300-metre course.
The pair had a one-stroke edge over Trevor Fisher Jnr, with Lindani Ndwandwe, Ulrich van den Berg and Morne Buys in a share of fourth on three-under-par 68.
ÂThat eagle basically saved my round,Â said Bekker, who started with a birdie on the 10th and then promptly bogeyed the 11th and 12th.
ÂI must have hit eight or nine bunkers this round,Â he said, Âand a couple of them were plugged, and that happened on 11 and 12. I couldnÂt get up and down so that cost me some strokes.Â
The professionals had some difficulties on the greens, battling to get the lines for their putts, and finding them a little bumpy, but Bekker was pleased with his putting.
ÂSomehow, I just saw the lines today, and the putts just dropped,Â he said.
Haindl, too, said he was pleased with his putting. ÂBut it actually started coming right last week, and I put together a decent round,Â he said.
ÂMy gameÂs felt good for a long time, but with the putting coming back to me, things are looking good,Â he added.
Haindl was in the winning pro-am team on the day before the 54-hole tournament started, and he found that helped his opening round.
None of the leaders was able to put together a bogey-free round as the wind also came up and began to provide some protection for the somewhat shorter-than-usual course.