Michael Hollick (@mikehollick) quickly turned the irritation at a double bogey into satisfaction at a great round on Friday as he carded an eight-under-par 64 to take the early round one lead of the Lombard Insurance Classic at Royal Swazi Spa Country Club.
Hollick started his round on the 10th and was going along nicely having birdied the 12th when he double-bogeyed the 178-metre par-three 14th out of the blue.
It’s been a quiet start to the year for the man who finished second in the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open last year, but some work on his putting gave him the confidence to put the slip-up behind him and work on getting things right.
He went on to make five successive birdies immediately after the double drop and another four birdies on his way home saw him race into a commanding early clubhouse lead over five players: Riekus Nortje, Rhys West, Adilson Da Silva, Titch Moore and Chris Swanepoel all carded five-under 67s.
“I’ve had a few lessons this week, and I’ve worked hard on the putting in particular,” he said. “The double didn’t make things any easier, but the putter worked and I hit the ball well, so the score will look after itself when that happens.
“If you had to test my heart rate when I made the double, it probably didn’t move from the time I walked onto that tee until the time I finished that hole. I was actually quite calm, where sometimes I can get a little uptight and that could have been the difference in the round,” he added.
It was that which enabled him to go on the birdie run which turned things around. “I hit a lot of good shots and rolled in two nice putts,” he said. “As I said to my caddie, when golf gives you something, you’ve got to take it.”
The five players in second all showed that low scores were out there. In each case, their 67s came on the back of a number of bogeys and worse in their rounds: Nortje made two bogeys before making two eagles on his back nine; West had a double-bogey in the middle of a birdie-run; Moore had two bogeys and a double on a card which had seven birdies and an eagle; and Da Silva and Swanepoel each had two bogeys on their cards.
While Hollick is pleased to be in front, he knows there is still work to be done. “It’s nice to have posted a good score, but there’s a long way to go – there are 36 holes still to play!”