“It was perfect this morning and I’m happy, although I left a few out there on the last couple of holes. The last few weeks I’ve been just short and I can’t seem to get to the win. But I’m getting there,” he said.
The 31-year-old has six top-10s from his last seven starts on tour and continued the run of form with a Thursday 65 that gave him the early clubhouse lead on a four-under-par total.
Last week the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open was launched and the €1-million tri-sanctioned tournament will run from the seventh to the 10th of May 2015. There will be 40 Sunshine Tour professionals teeing up alongside the European and Asian Tours’ best and a trip to Mauritius was on Ahlers’ mind.
“I just try to play the best I can at each tournament, especially in these smaller ones,” he said. “You can make a move up the money list with these. I need to get up there, because with the new Mauritius event you need to make the top 40, so every cent counts.”
During the first round strong coastal winds made scoring tough and Ahlers carded 71, but on Thursday there was hardly a breath of wind and that promoted aggressive golf at the par-70 course.
The Centurion local started on the 10th and battled to score at the start of his round. An eagle at the par-five 16th was the turnaround point of the day and he went on to birdie the 17th for a three-under-par front nine.
“I just kept patient, because I wasn’t playing badly. I hit two good shots into 16 and made eagle and that just gave me the leap to keep on going,” he said.
He made the turn with momentum on his side and continued the scoring with a birdie at the second. That led to further birdies at the third and fourth, which set Ahlers at six-under for the round.
He began to push for a really deep score and it proved to be his undoing. He walked off the par-five seventh with a par and then dropped a shot at the eighth, but the slip was mild compared to his impressive scoring earlier in the day.
“I was probably trying too hard to get to a number. I missed a few shots in the wrong places and then had to fight for par. Unfortunately that’s how I finished, but I’ll take it,” he said.
Last week’s Wild Waves Golf Challenge winner Colin Nel shot 66 on Thursday to rise 22 places up the leaderboard, while CJ du Plessis eagled both the second and third holes on his way to an early share of fifth.