Jared Harvey, fresh off his maiden victory, played sublime golf at the Sunshine Big Easy TourÂs Gary Player Country Club tournament, where his opening 67 gave him a three-stroke lead.
ÂI donÂt know if tomorrow could be as good, but the confidence is high and my game is pretty sharp. IÂve put myself in a good position to win again, and thatÂs all IÂve been trying in my first rounds. I want to give myself the chance to have a go at winning, because thatÂs what we play for,Â he said.
The 23-year-old rookie was one of just three players to go below the card on Wednesday, and seemed to play a different course to his competitors, cruising to five-under in spite of the tough layout.
ÂThe course is very tough, and itÂs mentally draining to play. I was on the green for two on the 18th and I let out a big sigh, because if you lose your sense of concentration just once then the course will take it from you. One bad swing here can lead to a really big number, so youÂve got to commit to every shot. From the tee until the ball is in the hole, from the first to the 18th is full-on concentration,Â he said.
A fortnight ago, Harvey shot consecutive 69s on the East Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club for his first professional win. That victory factored into his five-under-par opening round this week.
ÂThat win did a lot,Â he said. ÂYou feel that sense of confidence from having done it before, having crossed that finish line. You get that when everyone on the range is saying Âwell doneÂ. You feed off that and it makes you feel good. It gives you that sense of belonging Â IÂve crossed that line before and I believe I can do it again.
ÂIÂm not really surprised by the score I made Â it was just a flawless round with no bogeys on the card, so IÂm really chuffed. I felt comfortable today, with my surroundings and the course, so I put up a good score. That 67 has put me into a great position, especially at a course like this.Â
Attie Schwartzel shot an impressive two-under-par 70 to take sole possession of second. He recently took a share of 18th at Vodacom Origins of Golf De Zalze and is unlikely to let victory slip away without a fight.
Tour veteran Sammy Daniels was the only other player to break par, shooting 71 to take a first-round hold on third. Graham van der Merwe and Wynand Dingle wrapped up the day a further stroke back and shared fourth.