Ulrich van den Berg is the kind of player who likes to be challenged by an interesting golf course, and he’s got that in spades in this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf event presented by Samsung at St Francis Links.
On a course designed by Jack Nicklaus, and described by the 17-time major championship winner as the best links course he has ever designed, Van den Berg carded an opening five-under-par 65 to go into a four-way share of the first round lead.
“These are the kinds of courses that get us up, because when it’s wide open and it’s a free-for-all, I don’t necessarily lose interest, but the focus isn’t as strong,” he said “So when you’re out here, you’ve got to take one shot at a time and plug away and try and build your score which is what I normally do quite well.”
But for Van den Berg, things went smoothly. “I drove the ball nicely, I put the ball in play a lot and I hit a lot of good iron shots, but I also putted nicely,” he said. “I missed one short one, but I made some nice longer ones.
“The greens are a little soft and very receptive, which is a little unusual for this course at this time of year, because they are normally quite firm and fast. So it was a little easier to go at the flags,” he added.