Calvin Caldeira carded five birdies and an eagle on his homeward nine to fire a six-under-par 66 in round one of the Big Easy Royal Johannesburg and Kensington to take a two-stroke lead over Wynand Dingle.
The pair played together on a cold and blustery day at the 2016 Joburg Open venue, and both players enjoyed the birdie festivities on their inward nines.
“Wynand managed to knock one in on our sixth hole of the day and that just kind of opened the floodgates. Birdies breed birdies and for me and Wynand, we had a lot today. It was nice and it was enjoyable. It’s nice playing with someone making birdies – you pull each other around,” explained Caldeira.
“Luckily I played with Calvin today who shot a nice little seven-under on the back, so he pulled me along and that always helps when you’ve got someone playing with you that’s going so well,” said Dingle.
For Caldeira, playing the daunting East course is a slightly less stressful affair, with plenty of rounds under his belt at the famed layout.
“The game does feel good. On this golf course it’s kind of a course you play well if you’ve played it. There are putts that swing more than they should and there are a lot of shots that go further than you think. So experience is key on this golf course and luckily I’ve played it a lot of times. With 66 I’m happy and it puts me in a good position going into tomorrow,” said Caldeira.
Another factor that aids Caldeira is having his father and coach on the bag, and in cold and gusty conditions at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington, it’s something that is invaluable.
“Having him on the bag does calm you down. Knowing that you have the coach on the bag, when you hit a bad shot he can immediately say what you’re doing wrong. You can get a good thought going into the shot so that does calm you down even more. It’s nice having Dad on the bag and it’s fun.”
With a two-stroke lead over Dingle and a five-stroke lead over third place, Caldeira will approach the final round with the same mind-set as the opening round.
“Sometimes a bigger lead is more difficult to hold onto than a small one. I think I’ve just got to go out tomorrow and try shoot 66 again. I think if I put two of those together – if someone beats me with two of those then I’ll actually be very happy,” said Cladeira.
The two players that sit on one-under-par in third place are Bryce Bibby and Maketha Mazibuko, while seven players are tied on level-par for the tournament in a share of fifth place.