9th August 2017 | Sunshine Tour
Local knowledge hands Du Plessis early Serengeti lead
Hennie du Plessis fired in an impressive seven-under-par 65 opening round on Wednesday to take a one-shot lead at the Sun Carnival City Challenge being played at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate.
He made two consecutive birdies on his first two holes to make his intentions clear. He followed those up with a par on three, then two more birdies and four pars on his front nine. He made four more birdies on the back nine but a bogey on 13 robbed him of a flawless round.
“It was awesome,” Du Plessis said after his round, “I mean I hit the ball so well, I putted awesome. I definitely drove the ball the best I have been, all year.
“Everything is working well right now, I have got a new caddie on the bag and he’s giving me some of the best advice, so I am feeling very comfortable.” Apart from the new caddie, and like Jbe’ Kruger, Du Plessis knows this course well. “I have played this course so many times and I feel very comfortable around it,” he said.
Behind Du Plessis, Kruger took full advantage of his knowledge of Serengeti and shot six-under-par 66 to place himself second. He announced his intentions early on, as he fired in three birdies and an eagle on his front nine, with that bogey on six threatening to unsettle him. He then swiftly recovered at the turn as three more birdies on 11, 17 and 18 found their way into his card. But he dropped yet another shot on 13 and had to settle for 66 in this tightly contested round.
“This is probably the best score I could have shot today,” Kruger remarked after his round, “but, you are always happy to start off this way, especially on your home course.
“That definitely helps because I know where to hit the ball and where not to. But, like I said, to win, you still need to make those putts.”
James Kamte, Anthony Michael and Titch Moore share third spot on five-under-par 67. “I’m very excited,” Kamte, who is a member of the Gary Player Class of 2017-18, said, “because of all the preparation, through injury and stuff, and to come back and still manage to make a few birdies and to get myself back on the scoreboard is something I have been wanting for so long. Five-under today, around this golf course, is very exciting.”
Jonathan Agren and Jacques Kruyswijk are part of a seven-man tie for sixth, as they all signed for four-under 68, while defending champions Ruan de Smidt, Hennie Otto, JC Ritchie and Michael Palmer share 13th on three-under 69.