James Kamte broke his ankle two months ago and since then he’s been working on his game away from the Sunshine Tour. On Wednesday it paid dividends as he tied the first-round lead at the Wild Waves Golf Challenge.
“My ankle is still weak and wobbly, but I’ve been practicing hard and it’s good to see the results coming. I was battling with my game and today’s round gives me some confidence going forward,” he said.
The wind picked up throughout the day at Wild Coast Sun Country Club, but Kamte is a four-time winner on tour and handled the blustery conditions well. He shot 65 at the par-70 track to join Trevor Fisher Jnr and Colin Nel in a share of the lead.
“You’ve got to be very patient and have a good game plan around here,” Kamte said. “It’s about hitting it in the right places and making as many putts as you can. I made a lot of good birdies on good holes, so my confidence is high.”
On Wednesday he started on the 10th and went on to make more birdies than any of his rivals. That abundant scoring led to an opening 65 and he finished the first day at the top of leaderboard.
“I stayed patient and hit the ball pretty well today. For the first time in a long while I broke 30 putts, which was good. I made a lot of good putts and that gave me birdies. I started hitting it pretty close and the game feels like it’s there,” he said.
The 32-year-old ranks 39th on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and wants a victory before the big events of the summer begin.
“I’m looking for a win at one of these winter events, so that when I come into summer my game is sharp and I feel ready to have a go. I’ve been waiting to start playing well and it feels like I’m ready now,” he said.
Nel teed off in the morning and set the clubhouse pace early on. The Pietermaritzburg local made just one bogey on his way to a share of the lead.
“I’m a Maritzburg boy, so this is my stomping ground. I’ve played a lot here and I’m comfortable around the course – it certainly feels like home,” he said.
Fisher started on the 10th on Wednesday and turned in 32, by which stage he had his irons dialled in. The sixth and eighth holes are par threes and the eight-time Sunshine Tour winner made birdies at both to finish off the round on five-under.