Playing in a series celebrating the career of Retief Goosen was perfect inspiration for Prinavin Nelson and Louis de Jager to sign for opening 64s and lead the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula Country Club on Wednesday.
Their eight-under-par score puts them one clear of Allan Versfeld and two ahead of Andrew Georgiou and Doug McGuigan.
Both Nelson and De Jager tried to apply the calm demeanour of Goosen during their rounds in the bushveld, where the pace is itself as relaxed as a Goosen smile.
ÂIÂm not sure what happened today. ItÂs been awhile since I played well, so IÂm very happy. IÂve met Retief Goosen before and I just tried to adopt his attitude on the course. HeÂs very relaxed and calm, and doesnÂt get upset,Â Nelson said after a bogey-free round in which he made six birdies through a nine-hole stretch.
De Jager has even further inspiration to try and follow in the footsteps of Goosen, coming from the same town of Polokwane.
ÂYou see what heÂs achieved and it makes you want to work harder. IÂve played with him a few times, and heÂs just so much more consistent and confident. ItÂs something IÂve been working on as well, and today it came off,Â he said following a round where he chipped in for birdie on the par-three 17th.
ItÂs already a low-scoring start on a Zebula course where over the half the field scored par or better on the first day, and where the quality of the greens has drawn praise from the professionals.
ÂProbably the best greens in the country at the moment,Â was the enthusiastic response from McGuigan after his 66.
McGuiganÂs putting was certainly the key to his round. But his improved performance on the greens has come at a cost. He was doubtful of even teeing it up in the first round as he is battling with a severe lower back strain.
ÂI was really thinking I might not even play. But IÂve been stretching and had a massage, and the pain is still there, but itÂs manageable. I think itÂs from all the putting work IÂve been doing. Last week I did about seven hours of putting from four feet in two days, so I think that strained it.Â
Article: Michael Vlismas