He made five birdies on the back nine on Wednesday in the first round of the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf presented by Samsung event at Vaal de Grace Golf Estate and they rocketed PH McIntyre to the lead at eight-under-par 64.
He held a one-stroke edge over Jake Roos – who made three eagles in his seven-under 65 – and he held an advantage of a further stroke over Anthony Michael, Dean Burmester, Jaco Ahlers, Shaun Norris and Jared Harvey.
“I chipped very well and made a few putts,” said McIntyre, “but it was a pity that I missed a three-footer for birdie on the 18th that would have taken me to nine-under. But I putted well today.”
Putting is the key around a course that is very hard and dry after the winter. “The greens were getting a bit quicker in the afternoon,” said McIntyre. “The wind yesterday hardened them up, but they are still rolling very well. You’ve got to get it on the right line and you can make some good putts here.”
The blemish on his card came at the 202-metre par-three sixth, where both he and Roos dropped their only shots of the day. And while McIntyre made up for it with an eagle three on the 564-metre seventh – the longest hole on the course – Roos had already bagged his first eagle on the 501-metre fifth.
“I can’t think that I’ve ever made three eagles in a single round,” said Roos. He went on to make the other two on the 10th – a 355-metre par-four when his approach shot went into the hole – and on the 519-metre 14th.
“It was one of those days when I really hit some good shots,” he said. “The course is dry so the ball is rolling out, and I hit a lot of shots really close today. A lot of my really good holes were short putts or tap-ins, and that makes for a stress-free kind of round.”
Of the five players on 66, Ahlers was the only one to have a bogey-free round. But, in the end, the overwhelming weight of his seven birdies and an eagle were enough to give McIntyre the lead.