“It’s feels good to be in the lead and today I wanted to stay calm and take it one shot at a time, so it was really nice to achieve that. Being in the lead is a great experience and hopefully I can keep this calm mindset and stay on top right through the week,” he said.
The tall 32-year-old started on the 10th tee and took a while to get going at Royal Swazi Sun Country Club on Thursday, but once a birdie putt dropped at the 15th he was on his way.
“It was good to come out here today and continue scoring. I had a bit of a slow start, but that birdie at the 15th just set the ball rolling and I could play my own way from there,” he said.
The R1-million tournament uses a modified stableford scoring system that promotes aggressive golf and Wellington made sure that he attacked the course. The Johannesburg local made four birdies over the final six holes of his round, which kept him three points clear of second-placed Jacques Blaauw.
“I was feeling confident on my second nine and I wanted to take advantage of that,” said Wellington. “I’m playing well enough to go for it and the format of this event suits me, so it was nice to be rewarded for taking on some of the pins.”
The scoring system runs as follows: eight points for an albatross, five for an eagle, two for a birdie and none for par. One point is deducted for a bogey and three for a double-bogey or worse.
Blaauw (pictured left) chose to play aggressive golf and his enjoyable risk-taking reflected the atmosphere of the tournament. The three-time Sunshine Tour winner made six birdies and an eagle during the round, and despite his three bogeys came out with 14 points.
Jaco Ahlers made six birdies on Thursday for a move to sole third on a 23-point total, while Rhys Enoch, Jared Harvey and Ryan Tipping tied for fourth place on 21 points each.