“I definitely hit some really good iron shots. I had a couple good bounces. One chip in on par-3, and went straight in the hole, didn’t bounce. So kind of lucky, but it was a good day. I putted well, and I was pretty excited about the rest of the week,” he said.
The 33-year-old got hot on the back nine, where he made six birdies to finish the round two shots behind leader Emiliano Grillo’s eight-under-par total.
Grillo is a regular visitor to South Africa and competes at the co-sanctioned events of summer. He received an invitation to play the Barbasol Championship on the PGA Tour last week and birdied the 16th and 18th on Sunday to finish in the top 10, which meant he qualified to play in Canada this week.
It was something of an exodus for the young Argentinian, who had to cross the Canadian border without the correct paperwork. Three days later he shot eight-under-par to lead the tournament.
“It was a crazy week. The last eight, nine days has been crazy. I drove to the border and had all the explanation papers. My manager did a great work with that. I basically asked them and told them I don’t have a visa. I need a permit, so I’m here to ask you for a permit. There is kind of an exception for athletes, but Canada has to gain something, and I have to gain something at the same time, so it kind of worked,” he smiled.
Van Aswegen’s week has been far less dramatic than that, but he will be no less determined to do well in Canada after his scorching start.
“Now it’s drying out this afternoon and it’s going to be playing even faster. The course is in great shape, and it should be a good week. I’m excited to have a good tournament,” he said.