Swing changes help Vaughn at Simola

Vaughn Groenewald changed his golf swing and it paid off as he carded a five-under-par 67 on Wednesday in the opening round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Simola Golf and Country Estate.

It wasn’t enough to give him the lead – that was taken by David Ryan at six-under-par – but it was enough to make him believe the changes are starting to bed down.

“I didn’t go to Sean Foley,” joked the 37-year-old Ermelo professional in a reference to Tiger Woods’ woes. “I’ve got my dad as my coach; I’ve grown up with him and he knows my swing.”

He kept his card error-free all the way until the closing hole after he started his round on the 10th, and he made a bogey on the 197-metre par-three ninth.

“After the first three holes, I was trying to adjust the swing and I was a little nervous,” he said. “Then it started happening. I was making pars, and then hitting it close to make birdies. It’s feeling good, and I think it’s going to be better for the future.”

And if he manages to keep his eye on his putting while the swing change kicks in, he’ll be in good shape. “I’m feeling confident, and I reckon two more of those 67s will put me right up there.”

Ryan only got into the tournament as a qualifier, and he continued that good form with seven birdies in his 66, and just a single bogey early on in his round on the 374-metre par-four fifth.

Gathered in a group of four another two strokes back on 69 were Andrew Georgiou, Keenan Davidse, Merrick Bremner and last year’s runner-up Peter Karmis.

And Branden Grace, the man who has won three times on the European Tour this year, carded a two-under-par 70 after he got it to five-under through 12 but then make three bogeys in his final six holes.

Defending champion Jean Hugo battled his way to a one-under-par 71.

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