Hot start to Nedbank Affinity Cup

Michael Vlismas


On a day when the Lost City Golf Course was far more forgiving than the heat, South Africa’s Jacques Blaauw, England’s Steve Surry and Botswana’s Stuart Smith shared the first round lead of the Nedbank Affinity Cup with three 64s, and Michael Hollick continued an incredible putting streak.


The fast start to this R700 000 event also included a hole-in-one from Dawie van der Walt.


The leaders finished the round one stroke clear of Hollick.


Blaauw, twice a winner on the Sunshine Tour this year, enjoyed one of those days where everything just clicked.


“I had 24 putts which is a first for me in a long time. I chipped in once and holed a putt from off the green on nine, and that’s how you shoot a 64,” he said of a round of seven birdies, an eagle and a bogey.


Surry, in his second season on the Sunshine Tour, and Smith, top of the leaderboard for the first time in his career, both set themselves low targets at the start of the round.


“It wasn’t playing too difficult today and you could attack most of the flags. Then I just got the putter going,” said Smith.


“I knew the scoring was going to be low so I was more than happy with eight under,” added Surry, who scrambled well early in his round. On the first he had to chip out from the rough and then hit a nine iron to a few inches from the hole to save par. Then on the par-four second he holed a 40-footer for birdie.


Hollick followed on from his second place in last week’s Cape Town Open with a putting display that gave him 12 one-putts from the last six holes in Cape Town and the first nine holes in this tournament.


“Putting is where it counts. You’ve got to ride that wave of confidence when it comes. I just felt really relaxed out there. When your mind is at ease you definitely putt better because you think about it less. You just pick your spots and try and hit them. I’m trying not to overanalyse on my putts,” he said after his 65.


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