Kingston heads Di Data as darkness descends on Fancourt

James Kingston got off the golf course before the mist descended on the three courses at Fancourt, and he’d done enough to hold a share of the first round lead of the R3.2-million Dimension Data Pro-Am.

But the round was incomplete as George lived up to the stereotype of its weather – cold and wet – on a day of descending and ascending mists, drizzle, and cool breezes and players in the afternoon sometimes had to delay shots until visibility had become acceptable again.

In the end, play was abandoned for the day soon before 5.15pm, and will resume on Friday at 6.30am.

In any event, Kingston shares the clubhouse lead with Jean Hugo at five-under-par 67 on the par-72 Outeniqua Course – and there are still 56 players to complete their rounds.

The tournament has a field of 160 professionals playing on all three of the 6,755-metre par-73 Links, 6,312-metre par-72 Outeniqua and 6,714-metre par-72 Montagu.

The players are each paired with an amateur for the first three rounds, and play over each of the courses before a cut is made to the top 65 professionals and those tying.

There is also a cut for the betterball teams, with the top 25 going through to the final round which will be played on Sunday on Montagu.

Kingston’s round came on the back of his second-place finish in last week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, where he finished with a pair of five-under-par 67s to just miss getting into a playoff with eventual winner Alvaro Quiros.

What pleased him about his round on Outeniqua was that it was bogey-free: “I haven’t had too many of those recently,” he said, “so it’s always good, especially in weather like this.”

He made an eagle-three on his second hole to get the momentum going, and three more birdies took him to the top of the leaderboard.

Hugo’s round was less consistent, with a double-bogey, a bogey and eight birdies.

The pair shared a one-stroke edge over Hennie Otto, who, like them, played his opening round on Outeniqua, and, like Kingston, handed in an error-free card.

The other courses were playing tougher, with Desvonde Botes leading the way off the Montagu course with a level-par 72, and Garry Hill going two-under on the Links.

“The course is playing long and is as difficult as always,” said Hill. “However the soft conditions have actually made it a bit easier when it comes to the approach shots.”

For Kingston, the feeling is that he is getting close to another victory, and that in a tournament with which he has a lengthy association.

“I’ve been playing quite nicely, so it’s not like I’ve not been expecting this,” he said. “I’ve come a long way with Dimension Data and it’s always nice to come and support an event like this. It’s one of those I’d really like to win.”

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