28th November 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Besseling in slender lead at Leopard Creek
Wil Besseling of the Netherlands carded a near-perfect seven-under-par 65 opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Thursday to lead by a single stroke at Leopard Creek.
He made six straight pars in his first six holes, made a birdie on seven, a par on eight and another birdie to go out in 33.
“I played well from the start and gave myself opportunities and the putts didn’t didn’t drop,” he said. “I had a good par-save on eight, and a nice birdie on nine. From there on, I got some better chances and some putts dropped. I’m really happy with a 65 and a birdie on the last.”
The homeward nine was a little bit more eventful for Besseling because after the par he made after the turn, he made a birdie on the 11th. A bogey on 13, his only drop on the day, took from the gains he’d made on the previous hole but he bounced back emphatically, birdieing the par-five 13th and the 14th before making an eagle on 15. A birdie on the final hole earned him an opening round of 65.
“It’s a great start for the season,” Besseling said, “and a great round. I’m very happy with my 65 today. I had it going nicely on the par-fives. I was able to get there in two with irons and converted the birdies, and an eagle on 15 really helped.”
He was among the many players who welcomed the history-making decision to play this tournament in shorts due to a scorching heatwave which has visited this part of the country. “Definitely a nice change. I mean, the first time ever on tour wearing shorts in a tournament round, and probably this is the place to do it.”
Tied for second is the trio of England’s Garrick Porteous, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal and local man, Keith Horne, who all signed for 66s.
Porteous’ six-under-par 66 was bogey-free while Larrazabal had five birdies, a bogey and an eagle on his card. Horne’s round consisted of seven birdies and a bogey.
“I’m very pleased,” said Horne of his work in round one. “I’ve been playing pretty solidly but in the last month or so, very unhappy with my game. Came back early from Asia and did some work in those two weeks and I’m very happy with the result, that work paid off.”