With a new tee-box on the sixth hole in play for the first time at Royal Cape Golf Club, any good first round on Thursday in the R1.2-million Lion of Africa Cape Town Open was going to be a course record.
Nobody expected it would be 10-under-par 62 in windy conditions, but Andrew Georgiou didn’t drop a shot on his way to a two-stroke lead over Erik van Rooyen playing at his home club, and over Christiaan Basson, who, like Georgiou, is a Western Cape player.
“That was a special round of golf,” said Georgiou. “I made a lot of putts, the wind was tricky… I’ve shot a few 62s before, but these conditions are by far the toughest I’ve encountered doing it. The wind got up to two- and three-club wind at times – I hit a seven-iron from 115 yards once.
“I just had to have a lot of patience out there, trying to get the ball on the green, keep it low, and then it was just one of those days when putts were going in.”
He turned in five-under-par 31, having started his round on the 10th, but that was in conditions that were still relatively benign, before the wind came up and started swirling about. He birdied the first – his 10th, and then it was a question of holding on for whatever opportunities came his way.
And they did: he made a beautiful run of birdie-eagle-birdie on his 13, 14th and 15th holes to take him to 10-under, a score he held on to until the end.
The eagle came from a shot he will treasure forever. “The wind was absolutely howling at that point,” he said. “I hit a three-wood from 235 yards, and as I hit it, it came out perfectly. I hit it to 10 feet. I’m going to dream about that three-wood shot for a long time. I can remember some shots from a long time ago, but that three-wood is going to be one of the top shots of my career.”
He had a dream round with his putter too, taking just 24 putts. “I might put that putter in bed with me tonight,” he said.
He is still using a long putter, with just a few weeks left until anchoring a club is outlawed. “Let’s make hay while the sun shines,” he laughed. “I’m not going to think about next year, as I have to think about what’s happening now and try and do the business this week.
“I love this putter and I’m really upset that it’s going to be taken away from me. I feel a bit hard done by personally. I’m not too sure how the rules people made a decision like that, but I’ll use it while we can.”
He’s got to try and follow that performance up now, with three more rounds to go and some bad weather in the forecast. But he not too worried. “They say it’s tough to follow a low round with another,” he said. “I’m not oblivious to that, but I’m going to go out tomorrow with the same mind-set and try and make birdies and keep going. It’s early in the tournament, with lots of holes to go, so I’m not going to worry about what I did today and I’m just going to try and keep my foot on the gas.”