“Today was a very good start indeed and I’ve been working hard on my game. I spent some time in Abu Dhabi and it’s an unbelievable place to train. I’ve been playing at a course there called Yas Links and in three rounds I broke 70 every time, so it’s been a really great experience,” he said.
The 43-year-old from Springs played alongside fellow journeymen TI Mazibuko and Derick Petersen, but soon pulled clear with a birdie at the 15th. Dube made no drops during the round, and further birdies at the first and third meant a one-shot lead over Sipho Bujela and amateur Ramon Rigney.
Dube plays out of Royal Oak Country Club and is well adjusted to parklands style courses. That helped him keep it in the fairway around Crown Mines, which penalises wayward tee shots.
“The golf course we’re playing is about understanding. It’s a very tight course and you can’t just hit, it’s a thinking course and I played it nicely today,” he said.
With a win at Vusi Ngubeni in 2006 he knows what needs to be done over the next three days. Although the week is just beginning, this seasoned campaigner is ready for the challenge.
“I’m feeling very strong. My focus is good at this stage and I feel like anything can happen. I feel like I can win this – I did it before, and I can do it again,” said Dube.
Rigney had a chaotic trip around Crown Mines that included only six pars, but the Randpark professional came out on top due a collective seven birdies during the round. He’ll need to eliminate the mistakes if he wants to stay in contention.
Bujela included an eagle at the first and a double bogey at the second to his card, but his experience on tour during the 2013 season helped him steady the round on Tuesday and he went on to card 70.
“It’s always good to have a good start. I had plenty of birdies out, and a lot of drops, but I’m happy with the score that came out at the end of the day. It’s one of those courses that takes and gives,” he said.
Reggie Adams, John Bele and Mike Maile shared third on one-under par, while TI Mazibuko and Allister de Kock were tied for sixth on one-over.