Simon Dyson surged back into the limelight at the Tshwane Open on Thursday, where he birdied the last four holes of his first round to lead on seven-under-par before thunderstorms forced a suspension in play at 5.28pm.
“It’s a lovely start. It’s my lowest round in a good few years, especially on the first day. It just puts you in a nice frame of mind, in good stead, and sets it up nicely to have a good weekend,” he said.
The six-time European Tour winner relished his opening 65 at the longest course in European Tour history, where he sank putts from all over the greens to pull one shot clear of Jared Harvey, Erik van Rooyen and Ross Fisher in the clubhouse. Trevor Fisher Jnr was seven-under with two holes to play, while Darren Fichardt and Danie van Tonder were six-under with one hole left to complete.
“Putting has been the let-down for the last few weeks,” said Dyson, “but me and my caddie had a chat about what I’m doing wrong. We spent about an hour and a half on the putting green yesterday and I managed to get a good feel for it. I started straight away and holed a good six-footer for par at the first and then about a 40-footer for birdie at the second and that was it, I was off and running.”
It was a good day all around for the Englishman, who pencilled in seven birdies and no bogeys during the opening round.
“The no dropped shots is very satisfying when you walk off 18, probably more satisfying than being the leader. If I had shot five-under with no dropped shots I’d probably still feel the way I do now,” he said.
Earlier in the day Harvey set the mark when he reached the clubhouse in six-under-par 66. The young gun has steadily built his way towards the big league and this week could be the break he needs to make his name.
“It’s all about finding your feet,” he said. “My goal for every year is to improve. In my first year I had a decent season and then last year I gave myself a chance to win twice. It’s been baby steps, but in the right direction and I think this could be a good jump for me.”
The greenest of the leading pack was Erik van Rooyen, currently in his first full year on tour. The talented 24-year-old is savouring his time at the top after playing four years of college golf at the University of Minnesota.
“This is completely different and a little bigger than what I’m used to, but I’m not trying to think about that. I’m trying to focus on my game and do all the little things right… the rest will take care of itself. It’s great being able to play in all of these co-sanctioned events and I’m just trying to enjoy every moment,” he said.
After finishing 10th at the Joburg Open Ross Fisher brought his good form over to The Els Club, Copperleaf and set up for another good result as he reached the clubhouse in 66 blows.
“At the Joburg Open I played really well on the Sunday and I could have easily shot nine-under for nine holes, that’s how good the long game was. The long game still feels like it’s there and if I can hole a few more putts, like I did today, then I think there will be some really low scores from me,” he said.