Warren Abery recovered from a bogey on his first hole to card a seven-under-par 65 in the opening round of the R3.2-million Dimension Data Pro-Am being played on all three courses at Fancourt.
Abery, who is waiting to get into his first European Tour event after earning his card at the Q-School Final Stage last December, was quick to get his game back on track after the early error.
ÂI got an unlucky lie on the first hole,Â he said, Âand I managed to make eight birdies from there. I think the first was the only green I missed.Â
It gave him an early two-stroke edge over defending champion Hennie Otto, who also played on the Outeniqua course Â all players have a round each on Outeniqua, Montagu and The Links ahead of the cut and the final round on Montagu.
ÂI came here this week playing really well,Â said Abery, Âand IÂm hitting my irons really close and putting well, and I think thatÂs the key to these courses.Â
He wasnÂt entirely happy with his putting, either. ÂI missed a lot of putts,Â he said. ÂIf you only miss one green, you know youÂve got 17 chances. I holed some good ones and I missed some makeable ones.Â
But he was happy to have posted a good score in the opening round at one of his favourite venues on the Sunshine Tour and in a tournament that is important to local players. ÂItÂs a big one to win,Â he said. ÂThere is a lot of incentives, the prize money is really good, Dimension Data have been a strong supporter of our tour Â itÂs one of the flagship tournaments on our tour and IÂm looking forward to the rest of the week.Â
He guessed he wouldnÂt get into any of the events on the European TourÂs desert swing in the Middle East, but he had hoped to get into the Avantha Indian Masters which is being played at the same time as the Fancourt event.
ÂThings happen for a reason,Â he said. ÂI finished fourth here last year, so I enjoy the venue and IÂm playing well.Â