“If I had made a few more putts it would have been a really low one,” said Kenneth Dube, who was on song at Modderfontein Golf Club on Tuesday and shot 69 to share the first-round lead at Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School.
The Sunshine Tour veteran realised he was in for a low round when he eagled the eighth hole and moved to two-under. From there he was unable to capitalise on all of his chances, but he closed out the first round in three-under-par and shared the top spot with Makhetha Mazibuko.
“I’m hitting the ball nicely and enjoying myself out there, but I missed a lot of small putts. I played well overall and if my putting improves then I’ll definitely have a chance this week,” he said.
The 44-year-old was solid on the 6651-metre track and made just two bogeys during the round. He’ll need to keep up the pace in order to secure one of the 15 Sunshine Tour cards available this week.
Dube is no stranger to winning at the Vusi Ngubeni tournament and in 2006 he clinched the title with rounds of 70 and 72. This year the stakes are higher and 72 holes of stroke play decide the victor. His opening round of 69 needs to be backed up, but there are 54 holes to play and he is confident about the next few days.
“I hope in the three days coming I’ll play better, because my game has been very good over the last couple of months. I know what it takes in these events, so I’ll keep my head together and try to pull it off,” he said.
Mazibuko also has winning experience in the event and in 2013 he blew away the field at Observatory Golf Club and won by 10 shots. “It’s a big week and you have to play well. You need to be prepared when you come to this event, because it counts for so much,” he said.
Mpho Mafishe was hot on the trail after carding 70 for his first round, and the 24-year-old is every bit ready to make his mark on tour.
“The 2015 season is about to start and I feel prepared for it. It’s really nice to be there at the top with the big guys once in a while,” he said.
Allister de Kock was runner up in 2014 and prepared himself for a good week with an opening round of 71. He likes to play aggressive golf and it will be exciting to watch him over the coming three days.
The stage has been set by the first round leaders and there is everything to play for at Modderfontein this week.