Michael leads in Swaziland

Michael Hollick took the early lead at the Investec Royal Swazi Open on Wednesday, racking up 16 points and pulling two points clear of the field at Royal Swazi Sun Country Club.

 

“I set a goal of double-digits every day, because you don’t know what points you’ll need to stay near the top of the leaderboard. I enjoyed it today and played well, and the scoring kept coming,” he said.

 

The tournament works off a modified stableford scoring system that promotes aggressive golf. Points are earned as follows: eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie and none for par. One point is deducted for every bogey and three for double or worse.

 

The 25-year-old from Durban attacked flags on Wednesday and was rewarded with six birdies during the round, four of which came before the turn. Added to this was an eagle at the seventh, which counted for five points and put Hollick in the driver’s seat.

 

“This whole year I’ve been making it through around the cut lines, but in this format you can build up a lot of points, which suits me. You just have to take advantage of the par fives and today I managed to do that,” he said.

 

He went on to make two final birdies at the 12th and 14th before his first and only drop of the day, which he made at the 15th before coasting home with three pars.

 

“I’ve just got to play it shot by shot now that I’m ahead. My downfall this year has been that I get ahead of myself, so if I stay in the moment then I’ll definitely be up there at the end,” he said.

 

Hot on his heels was Ruan de Smidt, who made a confident 14 points during the morning round to take an early hold on second place. The 2012 Rookie of the Year runner-up looked settled in his second year on tour, and the seven birdies he made on Wednesday will attest to that.

 

Ryan Cairns headed to Swaziland fresh from a tied-seventh finish at the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open, and on Wednesday continued to play well. ‘Cairnsy’ proved the value of an eagle under the modified scoring system when he added one to his card at the 12th and secured his early hold on third.

 

Wallie Coetsee managed six birdies during the round to finish on 12 points and take fourth in the clubhouse, and was followed by five players sharing fifth on 10 points.

 

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