Christiaan keeps up at Sishen

During round one of Vodacom Origins of Golf Sishen Christiaan Basson led for much of the day, and even though he was overtaken at the end, his six-under-par total kept him within range of the lead.

“I was playing nicely and didn’t make a bogey today. It’s been a while since I had an eagle, so that was a great feeling,” he said.

He managed to keep pace with his playing partner Jean Hugo, who blazed his way to seven-under and led the first round at Sishen Golf Club on Wednesday.

With a new baby boy in the house, Hugo’s focus was as sharp as ever as he opened with a seven-under-par 65 in Wednesday’s first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament.

“Now you stand over putts and you think about paying for nappies and baby clothes,” Hugo said after a day of six birdies, an eagle and one bogey. It earned him a one-stroke lead over Basson and rookie Danie van Tonder.

Hugo’s round gives him his first decent shot at a victory in what hasn’t been his best season to date. Historically he has been one of the top performers on the Vodacom Origins series, but this year he hasn’t really featured. And he came to Sishen on the back of two consecutive missed cuts.

“I haven’t had the greatest of years. I’ve been working on a few new things, and it’s hard to trust yourself then. And with a one month old baby boy in the house, I’ve got a lot of things going on in my life at the moment.

“But I have a bad day on the course and go home and see the little one, and it gives you great perspective. I think I’m heading in the right direction.”

Hugo has a good record in Sishen, having finished second and fifth here before. And he is able to take advantage of the shorter layout, as he did on his second nine of 30.

His playing partner and one of his nearest challengers, Basson, certainly took advantage early in his round with an eagle two on the par-four first, holing out with a sand wedge.

And the big-hitting Van Tonder certainly relished the short Sishen layout. “You can take a lot of tiger lines out there. I know a lot of guys are taking irons off the tee, but I like going with the driver and just having a lob wedge in,” he said after a 66 in which he made five birdies in six holes on the back nine, and three straight birdies on the front.

But even that wasn’t as impressive as the performance by Chris Wood, one of the invited amateurs competing in this event. Wood plays with only one arm after losing his right arm in a motorbike accident many years ago. He shot 83 off his 11 handicap. It certainly impressed his professional partner Jake Roos.

“To do that with only one arm just shows you what is possible in this game. He has an amazingly positive attitude,” Roos said.

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