Jake Roos threw his hat into the ring with a first-round 66 at Royal Swazi Golf Club, his six-under-par tally putting him within a stroke of the Lombard Insurance Classic lead.
ÂItÂs nice to finish with a bit of momentum, and nice to get off to a good start. IÂm looking to build on that for the rest of the week,Â he said.
Eagles at the fifth and seventh pushed Roos into contention, and by the close of day one he shared third with Albert Pistorius and PH McIntyre, one stroke shy of leaders Jean Hugo and Andrew Georgiou.
ÂIÂve always seemed to play nicely at Swazi,Â said Roos. ÂI like the course and I felt comfortable out there today. I struggled a little bit with the lines on my first nine, but I made some nice putts on my second, so IÂm happy.Â
The 31-year-old began on the back nine, and after a quiet first loop turned at one-under. On the front stretch he got going with a birdie at the first before his two eagles catapulted him into a share of third.
ÂIt was a nice start,Â said Roos. ÂI felt a little dodgy before the round, but as I got into it things got progressively better. It was a good nine for me, my second nine. For both of the eagles I hit good approach shots, a four iron and then a six iron, and I was very happy with those.Â
McIntyre also made an eagle at the seventh, but a solid back stretch really boosted him up the leaderboard. He made five birdies over the second nine, securing his share of third.
ÂI canÂt ask for more,Â he said. ÂI enjoyed it, made good putts and played well. I had a bit of a dodgy start, but it came out nicely.
ÂIÂve been working hard over the last few weeks with Hendrik Buhrmann, and things are coming together, so IÂm starting to enjoy the game even more.Â
The Heidelberg Golf Club professional was focused on a good result, and his opening 66 formed the perfect foundation for a successful tournament.
ÂI didnÂt have a good start to the year, and I need to finish well for the end of the year. We always go for the win, but I must just be patient and wait for the right shots Â thatÂs it,Â he said.
For Pistorius it was a case of keeping the numbers off the card, and he made his way round without a drop. Three birdies on either side of the turn earned him his share of third.
Roos, having taken victory just three months ago, knows what to expect over the final rounds, and added: ÂIÂm going to try and give myself a lot of opportunities Â I think itÂs going to be a low scoring week. Put some good rounds in there and see what happens. ItÂs definitely the type of week where you need to be aggressive and make a lot of birdies to stay up there. IÂll try to keep doing what IÂve been doing.Â