“This year we have two events that I play ‘at home’ and they are probably the most important for me to do well in. I had a nice bunch of guys walking around with me today, which gets you going. If we could play here all year round I would be rather happy,” he said.
The 32-year-old has won twice at seaside courses and made the most of his local knowledge to shoot five-under-par and join Jean Hugo at the top of the leaderboard.
“I’ve won at the Wild Coast Sun, Arabella Country Club and did well at East London Golf Club, so I’ve always enjoyed the courses at the coast,” said Curlewis. “They are often not the longest, but you’ve got to keep it in the fairway and give yourself a decent second shot.”
The conditions were benign during the first round and the Margate local took advantage. He got on a run heading into the turn and made five birdies in six holes.
“I birdied eight, nine, 11, 12, 13 and that was the result of some really nice momentum around the turn. Those are the holes you need to score on around here. I wanted to shoot 69 today, so to have a 67 is perfect,” he said.
Thursday was good for low scoring, but the conditions can change quickly on the coast and Curlewis was pleased to have posted a good number on day one.
“You never know what the weather will do around here. The forecast is good, but we could wake up to gale-force winds, so you go as low as you can and hope for the best,” he said.
Hugo was also satisfied with a round of 67 and looked ahead with ambition. He’s aiming to set a new record by winning a 10th title on Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung series.
“When we came this morning the wind was quiet, which allowed me to plan my shots. When the breeze picks up then you have to reassess, so it’s good to have a solid first round to build on.
“If you’ve won that many then you try to build on it and I always try to motivate myself when I play Vodacom Origins of Golf. There are still 36 holes left to play, but I’m in a good spot,” he said.