Jeff Inglis brings a certain sense of freedom to his golf, and that freedom was rewarded on Thursday with an opening five-under-par 67 in the R1.5-million Lion of Africa Cape Town Open.
He didn’t play a single practice round at the Royal Cape Golf Club ahead of the tournament, much as he hasn’t played practice rounds at other tournaments over the last few years, but he still managed to finish up just one shot off the early pace set by Lyle Rowe and Hennie Otto.
“I’ve just come to a habit over the last couple of years where I just rock up,” said Inglis. “I try and prepare as well as you can beforehand, and then come to the tournament and peg it up in the right frame of mind, I guess.”
It certainly worked at a windy Royal Cape as he didn’t drop a single shot in less than ideal conditions. “Last week, I practiced a lot back home in Orkney, and basically focused on trying to get bogey-free rounds,” he said. “I tried to apply that today and luckily it was also bogey-free. I was just trying to keep bogeys off the card instead of trying to make as many birdies as I could.”
Like all professionals, he has a good memory of the holes he plays at all course. “I have played the course before in the last two Lion of Africa Cape Town Open, so I know basically what the course is like,” he said. “I try and keep that information in my head and then all I try and focus on is hitting fairways and greens, and make a couple of putts, I guess.
“Everything was about finding the middle of the greens. I made one long putt today, then most of the par-fives, I hit in two and two-putted them.”
Perhaps there is a lesson, then, in a slightly less intense approach to preparation for a tournament.