Bill finds success at Nedbank

Bill Haas carded two late drops in an otherwise impressive first round at the Nedbank Golf Challenge and signed for 70 to share the lead with Nicolas Colsaerts.

“I felt like I was doing a lot of good things,” said Haas. “I’m happy with two-under, because it’s playing tough out there. Here the rough seems to be more penal – if you’re in it, you’re in trouble.”

Playing his first Nedbank Golf Challenge, Haas found the layout at Gary Player Country Club quite tricky, yet good ball-striking ensures that he stayed away from the deadly rough.

“It’s an honour to be invited here, and I don’t take that for granted. I love this place and I’ve really enjoyed the week. I’m probably one of the highest-ranked players in the world here, but guys that have played here before have more confidence on certain tricky tee shots,” he said.

A four-time winner on the PGA Tour, Haas followed in the footsteps of his father Jay, who teed it up earlier in the day for the Nedbank Champions Challenge. It’s the first time a father and son have played the two tournaments simultaneously.

“I was playing seven green and my dad was on 13 green and we could see each other. It’s neat to feel like his peer this week. I saw that he shot one-under and I’m a couple under. It’s a good feeling to shoot some good scores – we didn’t win it today, but we didn’t shoot ourselves out of it. So far, so good,” said Haas junior.

Joining the American on two-under was Colsaerts. The long-hitting Belgian had to adapt to a course that punishes anything off the fairway.

“I normally hit it very long off the tee, but around here I chose a less aggressive strategy, even when I was hitting driver. I played the same game as everyone,” he said.

“The greens are rolling a bit quicker today, but you can still stop the ball very easily. The way these greens are prepared, and the fact that only 20 guys are walking on them, makes them a dream for any golfer to play on.”

Louis Oosthuizen, Paul Lawrie and defending champion Lee Westwood shared third on one-under, while Francesco Molinari, Charl Schwartzel, Martin Kaymer, Peter Hanson and Carl Pettersson all reached the clubhouse in level-par.

In the Champions Challenge Bernhard Langer showed his class, with an opening 68. If the difference in tees is ignored then his four-under-par was the low-round of the day and by the close of play the German held a three-stroke lead.

“I hit the ball beautifully. I drove it extremely well, hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of chances. Overall it’s been a steady, solid round. No bogeys, and that’s always fun,” he said.

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