Keenan startles experienced Horne

Keenan Davidse surprised fourth-ranked Keith Horne with a 3&2 victory during round one of the ISPS Handa Match Play Championship at Zwartkop Country Club on Wednesday.

“I made a few mistakes, but it’s like a kid going to school – you have to learn,” said Davidse. “It was nice playing Keith, and I learnt a lot today. I just gave my best and had fun.”

The 23-year-old enjoys the format, and drew on memories of his amateur successes, winning six holes during the day to trump Horne, who ranks 89th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

“I played for Boland and represented South Africa a few times,” said Davidse. “I like match play more than stroke play, because I like to attack everything. I’m not one to lay-up and that, and I enjoy myself more when I play match play.”

The pair were first off on a breezy morning in Pretoria. Davidse was quick out the gates and won the first and second. He added another win at the eighth, but Horne had won the third, and so the pair turned with Davidse up by two.

“You’ve got to hit it in the right spot here. You can’t just bang driver off the tee and you must think here, but there’s a lot of birdies out here, but you can make mistakes,” he said.

The De Zalze Golf Club player was ready for a backlash from the European star. After losing the 10th and 12th he was ready to tackle the 2012 Telkom PGA Championship winner and fought back at the 13th and 14th to return to two-up.

He needed his A-game to finish the tough match, and closed the Wednesday showdown with a win at the 16th, securing his place in the top-32.

“If I see an opportunity I take it, where most guys wait for you to make a mistake. They try to play safe, but I just go for it, because I prefer not to hold back. I love the back nine – you’re getting close to the end, so you have to go out there and fire,” he said.

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