Error-free opening round sees Harding lead Platinum Classic

Justin Harding made no mistakes as he went round the Mooinooi Golf Club course in eight-under-par 64 on Thursday to take an early two-stroke lead in the first round of the R500,000 Platinum Classic presented by UD Trucks.

He closed with an eagle three on 17 and a birdie on 18 to draw clear of a pack of five players who finished on six-under-par 66 in the opening round of the 54-hole event.

“I took driver and seven-iron in for the eagle,” said Harding, “and hit it to about 15 feet and rolled the putt in. It was about the longest one I made all day.”

It was a morning for low scoring on the only nine-hole layout on which the Sunshine Tour plays, and the professionals were all delighted with the course.

“I’ve not played it before this week,” said Harding. “I had a round on Tuesday and then played the pro-am yesterday.

“The greens are very nice. They’re rolling at a decent pace, and they’re true, which is good. They’re a bit tricky to read though. There were a few putts out there which I was perplexed by,” he added.

Behind him, Brandon Pieters, Warren Abery, Vaughn Groenewald, Darren Fichardt and Charl Coetzee all carded 66s. Of the five in an early share of second, Fichardt and Coetzee were the most impressive. Coetzee opened with a five-under-par 31 in his bogey-free round, and Fichardt closed with a 31 in his round which, likewise, contained no bogeys.

Behind them, a pair of veterans enjoyed good rounds: Hendrik Buhrmann turned back the clock with his 67, and Des Terblanche carded a 68 despite a dropped shot – one of two in his round – on the 16th.

Terblanche shared his spot four off the pace with a trio of top rookies, Allan Versfeld, Dean O’Riley and JG Claassen.

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