Gregory Bourdy shot a bogey-free 66 to edge one stroke clear of the field after round one at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Golf Estate on Thursday.
ÂIÂm very happy, because itÂs not an easy course and itÂs never easy to play a round without any bogeys. I played a very consistent game and had a lot of birdie opportunities. I made six, so itÂs very good,Â he said.
The Frenchman made a quick move on the leaderboard and never looked back, making three birdies on either side of the turn to reach the clubhouse at six-under-par.
ÂIÂve played very consistent and felt great, especially with my irons. ThatÂs why from the beginning I was very close to the pins and made some birdies very quickly.
ÂI didnÂt miss a lot of shots, just a few, but they were very close to the fairways and the greens. IÂm pretty happy to play like that on such a competitive course,Â he said.
HeÂs spent plenty of time in South Africa, but his most poignant memory will be victory at the 2006 Telkom PGA Championship. HeÂs enjoyed playing on the Sunshine Tour ever since.
ÂI love South Africa. I have played a lot of tournaments here and I won one, the Telkom PGA, a few years ago. It was an important part of my career, because I lost my European Tour card and I came to the Sunshine Tour to play more events. That season meant a lot,Â he said.
Accuracy was the name of the game on Thursday, and scoring opportunities abounded. Bourdy was happy with his 66, and looked forward to putting some more scores on the board.
ÂIÂve felt comfortable for a few weeks. My last weeks after summer in Europe were good, and I was waiting for something more. I have an opportunity this week to produce a better performance, so IÂll do my best,Â he said.
Six players were tied for second on five-under-par. One of the sextet was Charl Schwartzel, who won the Thailand Golf Championship by an amazing 11 strokes last week. HeÂs returned to South Africa to play a tournament that holds a special place in his heart. And so it should: heÂs taken four second-place finishes and one victory over the years at Leopard Creek.
ÂWhenever you can start off with a five-under itÂs good. Like I always say: you canÂt win on the first day, but you can sure lose it.
ÂIÂve always liked the course. It always seems to suit my eye, and itÂs got some sort of relaxing feel about it, so the combination goes well together,Â he said.