Bradford Vaughan found the game heÂs been missing for the last few months and shot an early 68 at the Lost City Golf Club to lead round one of the Nedbank Affinity Cup on Tuesday.
ÂItÂs just a question of getting my confidence back. IÂm trying to take small steps Â hitting it in play, donÂt get greedy, donÂt go for pins that are tucked away, and hope that some putts go in. ThatÂs not a bad way to play this golf course, and 68 is a good score considering the conditions,Â he said.
The 37-year-old kept his cool as the mercury rose to 33 degrees Celsius and was rewarded with a one-stroke lead over Andrew Georgiou, PH McIntyre and Jacques Blaauw.
ÂItÂs incredibly hot, and the wind is blowing quite strong,Â said Vaughan. ÂItÂs not blowing in one direction, swirling all over the place, which makes this golf course quite tricky, so IÂm quite happy with four-under-par.Â
ÂFrom some of the greens to the next tee box youÂve got quite a steep hill, and itÂs a bit tougher for me than some of these youngsters. IÂve mixed a lot of rehydrate with my water. You lose concentration because you start to get dizzy from the heat.Â
The Vanderbijlpark resident started rolling the putts early on and made birdies at four and five, but he slowed down after making the lone bogey of his round at the sixth. The scariest moments of his round, however, came at the turn when a black mamba crossed the road in front of him.
ÂThat mamba was quite scary. After we turned it was up in the tree and I got a look at it. ItÂs a very good incentive to keep the ball on the fairway,Â he said.
The reptilian incident cleared his focus, and Vaughan went on to birdie 10, 11 and 17 on his way to four-under. He credited his score to playing safe.
ÂI was really impressed that I was able to hit a lot fairways and greens! I havenÂt done that for a while and it was a nice change. IÂm trying to give myself a bit of confidence, and next week is the SA Open, which is a huge event that I want to be ready for,Â he said.
Georgiou, McIntyre and Blaauw all made their way round in 69 to share second, while Allan Michell, Prinavin Nelson and Ross Wellington shot two-under-par 70 to share fifth.