Louis Calitz led a professional tournament for the first time in his career as he carded four-under-par in the first round of the R540,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Sishen Golf Club on Wednesday.
Calitz shares the lead with Jean Hugo, Ulrich van den Berg and afternoon starter Allan Michell after all three players shot 68 and finished one shot clear of the competition.
ÂAs the day started I was thinking I must just try to keep it in play, and now I am leading a tournament for the first time,Â said an enthusiastic Calitz.
Afternoon-starter Michell shot into contention with an eagle on the 15th. His scrambling was on top form today as he made only six fairways yet made only one drop in his round. ÂIt wasnÂt fairway and green type golf, but I managed hold on and eventually got what I wanted,Â said Michell.
Calitz, on the other hand, dominated every par-five on the course, beginning with birdies on his front nine at the second and the sixth. ÂI knew that if I birdied the par-fives I would be in with a shout,Â he said.
Beyond the turn Calitz really opened up on the long holes, starting with a 25-foot putt for eagle on the par-five 11th – and his first taste of four-under.
It would not be the last eagle for Calitz, who landed the ball just six feet from the pin on 15 before his third shot found the cup on Sishen’s final par-five.
Calitz will be excited for a first-time lead going into round two, but faces a serious challenge from the likes of Simola winner Hugo, six-time tournament winner Van den Berg, and 32-time top-10 finisher Michell.
The leading group are one shot ahead of Neil Schietekat and Willie van der Merwe, followed by a group of six players on two-under, including the leader in the race for the Rookie of the Year title, Allan Versveld.