Bushveld inspires Van den Heever to early Platinum Classic lead

Divan van den Heever showed his love for the bushveld with a bogey-free eight-under-par 64 on Thursday to take the early first round lead of the R500,000 Platinum Classic presented by UD Trucks.

“Bushveld, that’s me,” he laughed after he signed for his round of six birdies and an eagle. “I’m even staying at Buffelspoort holiday resort just down the road here – fantastic!”

He took an early one-stroke lead over

Neil Cheetham who dropped one shot on the ninth in an inauspicious start, but then came home in a jaw-dropping 28 strokes with six birdies and an eagle for his 65.

The event takes place at Mooinooi Golf Club on the only nine-hole layout where the Sunshine Tour holds a tournament – and it is the first time a 54-hole event will offer Official World Golf Ranking points. All the Sunshine Tour’s winter events will do the same.

Chris Swanepoel was in third together with Jake Roos after the morning field completed its round with a pair of six-under-par 66s. Swanepoel made bogeys on nine and 16, but Roos, like Van den Heever, was bogey-free with two birdies on his opening nine and four on his way home.

“I played fairly decently today,” said Van den Heever of his round. “I didn’t hit enough fairways, but I got lucky with a couple of lies in the rough and made some nice putts – that’s what saved me. I think I had 25 putts today.”

He picked up birdies on two and seven before he made his eagle on eight. “That’s where I got lucky,” he said. “I hit a driver little left and got a great lie in the rough, and I had to cut a four-iron around the trees. I hit it on the green and made about a seven- or eight-metre putt.”

The rough was up for the event after a number of years of the tournament being played at the end of winter – so summer rains have made the course play very differently.

“This is the worst we’ve had it,” said Van den Heever, “and it’s good. I enjoy it that way.”

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