19th July 2018 | Sunshine Tour
Conradie in fine start in KCB Karen Masters
Ruan Conradie carded a good opening round of five-under-par 67 to make an early appearance high up on the leaderboard at the KCB Karen Masters at Karen Country Club in Kenya on Thursday.
Conradie was one shot off the early lead set by Anton Haig in the R2-million tournament which marks the Sunshine Tour’s first venture into the East African country.
“That’s awesome,” he said about his round. “It’s a great start and I am looking forward to the rest of the tournament through the week.”
The rookie on the Sunshine Tour birdied six holes: the 15th – before turning – and then the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, and eighth. He dropped only one shot at 11th.
The player who graduated to the top flight through Q-School earlier this year managed to calm himself down after dropping the only shot of the round. “I have to say I had a nervy start, but once I got going on the back nine, I could really feel that I am in it to give myself a chance come Sunday,” he said.
The 22-year-old attributed the good performance today to his irons. “I have to say my putting started working really well. I couldn’t get the putts going at the start and I was struggling a bit off the tee, but the irons were spot on. So, once I got to the greens and started making putts, it all came together,” he said.
Conradie is impressed with the condition of the 81-year-old course. “It is great, obviously. Kenya, once I got here, it was awesome. I have to say the course is in incredible condition and the guys are doing a great job looking after the course,” he said.
The Wingate Park Country Club player arrived in Kenya with his confidence high following his fourth-place finish at the Big Easy Challenge 5 at the end of June. His first season started on rocky ground with missing cuts at the Zanaco Masters and the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open. He went on to finish tied 54th at the Mopani Redpath Zambia Open 2018, but then failed to qualify at the Investec Royal Swazi Open early in May. He bounced back to share 24th spot at the Lombard Insurance Classic a week later and missed the cut at the Sun City Challenge early last month.