Michael sets Tour Championship pace

15_BET_CHA_RD1_WEBMichael Palmer shot 69 at The Els Club, Copperleaf on Monday to share the first-round lead at the Sunshine Big Easy Tour Championship.

“It’s nice to see your name on the top of the leaderboard in a tournament that’s probably the most important for us this year. I’m very happy with my position and hopefully I can continue with the form,” he said.

The tournament runs for 54 holes and offers up R200,000, but the real prize is playing privileges on the Sunshine Tour in 2016. The leading 30 earners from the regular Big Easy season teed up for the finale, all hoping to secure one of the cards on offer, which go to the leading five players on the final Order of Merit.

Palmer got his campaign off to a good start on Monday when he finished the first round on three-under-par and joined Stephen Ferreira at the top of the leaderboard.

“Three rounds will require consistent play, because that extra round makes a big difference. I’ve built confidence over the last few months and brought it into this week,” said Palmer.

“Length off the tee definitely helped me today. I felt good with the driver and the rest of my game was fairly tidy, so that was nice. I played very solid and birdied three of the par fives,” the 25-year-old added.

He currently ranks second on the earnings list and has the future on his mind, but he’ll need to block out those thoughts over the next two days.

“I’m pretty happy with the start and if I focus on the course and on playing the best golf that I can then I think the result will take care of itself,” he said.

Also in the mix is Order of Merit leader Christiaan Bezuidenhout, who came into the week with back-to-back wins. At the close of round one he shared third place with Ryan Clarke and Daniel Hammond on one-under-par.

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