Three birdies in a row ahead of the turn on Monday saw Rhys Enoch of Wales head the pre-qualifier for this week’s Lion of Africa Cape Town Open with a four-under-par 68.
He led 15 players into Thursday’s R1.55-million tournament, two shots clear of Mervyn Galant, while Botswana’s Stuart Smith, Zimbabwe’s Greg Bentley and local veteran John Bele shared third on one-under-par 71.
Enoch started poorly with consecutive bogeys on four and five, but he pulled things back with his birdie run ahead of the turn. “After the drops, it was pretty simple golf, really,” he said. “I hit a really nice tee shot down the par-five seventh and then a nice six-iron to about 10 feet and that sort of got me going really. I hit a nice iron to the next, made birdie, got myself level and just played nicely from there.”
He is looking to finish the 2014 Sunshine Tour with something of a flourish. “I’m mid-70s on the Order of Merit, so my fight starts. It would be really nice to have a couple of good weeks and get myself in the top 50.”
Inevitably, Enoch was full of praise for the Royal Cape layout. “It reminds me quite a lot of Royal Harare, actually,” he said. “It’s very nice. You’ve got to be pretty pin-point off the tees otherwise you’ll be paying from the trees. I only hit five fairways today, although I was only about two or three yards off about six other fairways – so I just kept it in front of me, really.”
While Enoch was certain of his qualification, James Wade and Swaziland’s Arthur Horne had to go through two play-off holes to lock up the last of the 15 qualifying spots available in the 156-man field. In the end, Wade made par on the second play-off hole to take that spot.