Eddie putts into the Wingate lead

A hot day with the putter gave Eddie Taylor a share of the lead at Wingate Park Country Club during round one of the Big Easy Tour’s fourth tournament of the season. The rookie from Johannesburg shot 69 on a day when 12 players broke par and was rewarded with a share of the lead on three-under-par.

 

“I’m happy with the round and with the way I putted. I had a shaky start and missed my first five fairways, but I made up-and-down at all five and that allowed me to find my rhythm,” he said.

 

The 22-year-old from Johannesburg finished tied for 38th at the Zambia Open last week and the momentum rolled on to this week’s R100,000 tournament. He recovered from the wobbly start and went on to birdie three of his final seven holes to share the lead with Derick Petersen.

 

“It was a nice confidence boost to have four steady rounds in Zambia,” Taylor said. “My worst score last week was 73 and playing like that helps you come back to this tour and compete.”

 

The Big Easy Tour helps players to develop their game and prepare for the bigger stage. It’s been a helpful tour for Taylor, who feels comfortable after five months of as a professional.

 

“This tour is very important for us rookies, because you can miss a couple of pre-qualifiers and still keep your game sharp with tournament play. The winner gets a full Titleist sponsorship and there are exemption categories available, which are the kind of things that make us think,” he said.

 

The midway leader has become a comfortable member on tour and he was keen to compete in the final round on Wednesday.

 

“I’ve had a decent start to the year and now that I’ve made a few cuts I feel like I do belong here. Tomorrow I’m going to stick to the plan and see if it works out,” he said.

 

Petersen won Big Easy Observatory in 2011 and has contended throughout the history of the development tour. The tall 25-year-old made just one bogey during his round of 69 at Wingate on Tuesday.

 

The chasing pack comprised six players tied for third on two-under-par. Amongst the group was Andrew Light, who won Big Easy Houghton three weeks ago. Four more players shared ninth on one-under.

 

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