Justin Harding won the final event of 2010Âs Vodacom Origins of Golf series and he took the early first round lead of the 2011 series with a chilly three-under-par 69 around Pretoria Country Club.
His two-stroke lead as the morning field completed the round in cold and windy conditions around the 6,459-metre layout was something of a surprise as Trevor Fisher Jnr endured a horror finish to a round that promised much as he made five birdies in a row around the turn, but closed bogey-bogey-double to sign for a 71.
ÂTrevor had a bit of a rough finish,Â said Harding, Âand I just kind of hung in there.Â
Evidence of his ability to keep a round on track came as he made successive bogeys on 12 and 13, a birdie on 14 and then pulled off a great up-and-down for par on 15.
ÂThat up-and down was quite interesting,Â he laughed. ÂI hit it about 20 metres left and the pin was tucked left. I bumped one through the bunkers and made about a 25-footer.Â
FisherÂs one-under was matched by three others: Adilson Da Silva, who won the previous Sunshine Tour event a fortnight ago at Sun City, Pretoria Country ClubÂs own George Coetzee and Ulrich van den Berg.
Van den BergÂs round included a hole-in-one on the 144-metre 14th Â his fifth hole of the day after he started on the 10th.
ÂIt was the fourth ace of my career,Â he said of the nine-iron which pitched straight into the hole Â and damaged it to such an extent that a new hole had to be cut.
Five players were a further shot back at level-par on a day on which scoring was difficult.
ÂIt was very, very cold,Â said Harding, Âand the windÂs blowing quite hard. ItÂs swirling around and making it difficult to pick clubs.Â