22nd February 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Karmis cards 63 in calm Cape Town conditions
Peter Karmis took the opportunity offered by a calm day on King David Mowbray Golf Club on Thursday to post a brilliant nine-under-par 63 to lead the first round of the Cape Town Open presented by Sun International.
He made nine birdies without dropping a shot on his way to a one-stroke edge over Zimbabwe Open champion JC Ritchie and Wales’ Rhys Enoch. They were, in turn, a further stroke ahead of a huge group of a dozen players on seven-under-par 65 as players took advantage of the benign conditions.
“Today, there was no wind really,” said Karmis. “Mowbray is a bit tame when there is no wind.”
While it might have been tame, Karmis still had to produce the goods to make those nine birdies, and with two titles on the 2017-18 Sunshine Tour already under his belt, he’s clearly in good shape. “I’m very pleased. I putted very well today, and I drove it fairly well as well,” he said. “I hit a lot of fairways so I gave myself opportunities to attack the flags, and then I putted so well. I haven’t putted so well in a very long time.”
That he was able to putt so well was tribute to the greens-keeping staff at King David Mowbray who got the course into tournament shape despite the challenges posed by the severe drought and tough water restrictions in Cape Town.
“The greens are pure,” said Karmis. “I grew up in Cape Town, so I know the course very well, and I don’t think I’ve seen the greens this good in my entire life.”
Like Karmis, Ritchie was also pleased with his putting. “I’m hitting the golf ball really well and putts were falling everywhere I was looking,” he said. “There was a lonely little three-putt bogey on my first hole and that was about it for the day.
“My work off the tee and my wedge play has sparked my consistency recently. I’ve been hitting a lot of wedges to within very makeable distances and the putter’s been there to back it up.”
With so many players under par for the opening round, it was certainly clear that the course played easy. But Karmis pointed out that King David Mowbray could bare its teeth in the right conditions. “When the southeaster blows, even mildly, it is actually quite a challenge,” he said. “There are a lot of cross-wind holes, a lot of small greens, a lot of narrow fairways, so it actually gets quite difficult.”
With the wind forecast to pick up a little during Friday’s second round, scores might not be quite as impressive.