Doug McGuigan prepared himself for the quick greens at Zebula Country Club and was rewarded with an opening 66 on Wednesday, which took him to a share of the morning lead.
ÂI came out here about a month ago and played four or five rounds with some friends of mine. That helped me a lot, to come out here and play the course every day and get used to the greens,Â he said.
A steady approach was key to the 31-year-oldÂs six-under-par total – he kept bogeys off the card and shot 33 on either side of the turn to join Andrew Georgiou atop the leaderboard.
ÂVery nice start,Â said McGuigan. ÂYouÂll take six-under every day, any course. I birdied the first from a bad lie after I hit a nice drive and just got it going from there. Making six birdies and no bogeys was a tidy day.Â
McGuiganÂs experience paid off on the 6,829-metre course, which has exceptionally quick greens. ÂI got the pace of the greens very quickly, so if I had a long putt I never hit more than two or three feet past. There was always just a tap-in for par, so thereÂs very little pressure, which makes for a great day.
ÂThese are probably the best greens in South Africa at the moment Â itÂs very hard to find something better than this. The whole venue is magnificent, and Vodacom bringing the tournament here is a great idea,Â he said.
Georgiou finished third at the Lombard Insurance Classic last week and was pleased to continue his run of good form. After making a smooth eagle at the second he settled into the round and made a run of pars until the turn. On the back stretch he opened up, penciling in four birdies.
ÂI donÂt know what to say – IÂm just playing well and IÂm going to keep it going,Â said Georgiou. ÂThis course is totally different to last week. It just took a bit of time to get used to the conditions, so I thought I would take it easy on the front and then took it from there.
ÂI love it here. The faster the course, the better for me. I know that if I want to play on the PGA Tour one day I have to be used to fast greens, fast conditions, and this is perfect for me.Â
McGuigan knows that the first-round lead doesnÂt mean a win, and spoke sagely of the next two days. ÂIÂve learnt not to get ahead of myself in this game. Everyone is happy with six-under, but you never know what it will offer you tomorrow. I donÂt get too excited, and even though IÂm feeling very confident, you have to keep that confidence level and not get ahead of yourself,Â he said.