21st March 2019 | Sunshine Tour
Fast start for Davidse in Tour Champs
Keenan Davidse started fast on Thursday in the first round of the Tour Championship at Serengeti Estates to share the lead with Jean Hugo in the Sunshine Tour’s season-ending tournament.
His round began on the back nine, and he made five birdies on his way to the turn in 31. Just a single bogey came on the first – his 10th – and he picked that shot back up again with a closing birdie on the par-three ninth.
“I hit it in a fairway bunker on the right on the first,” he said, “and I just chipped it out and took my medicine. I know it’s a cliché, but it was just about staying patient. I’m quite chuffed.”
He was particularly pleased, because during Wednesday’s opening round of the pro-am section of the tournament, he was wondering where a score was going to come from. “I wasn’t in a good space yesterday when we started with the pro-am,” he said. “Obviously I’ve sorted out everything, but it was tough out there.”
His game has been there or thereabouts for a while. “I played well in the last tournament too,” he said. “That was without a driver. This week, I have a driver and I’m smashing it a long way – I’m shocking myself!
“The putter is also working well for me. That’s the main thing for scoring. I hit a few close today, but the putter is rolling nicely. Derick Petersen told me I was striking the ball off the toe with my putts, so I worked on striking it in the centre. But one thing that stood out today was my putting.”
Hugo didn’t drop a single shot in his 67, and attributed his scoring to leaving his three-iron out of his bag in favour of a gap-wedge. “That just gave me good distances to the greens, which was really helpful,” he said. He made five birdies on his homeward nine, not picking a single shot in his first nine after starting on 10.
In a share of third, one shot further back, were JC Ritchie, who won the Limpopo Championship 10 days ago, JJ Senekal who won the Zanaco Masters in Zambia last April, and Swede Philip Eriksson, who won the Dimension Data Pro-Am last month.
Sunshine Tour Order of Merit leader Zander Lombard had a forgettable start to the tournament that is essentially his ‘lap of honour’ before picking up the Sid Brews Trophy for his feat: He carded a nine-over-par 81 to bring up the rear of the 40-man field, with a round that a quadruple-bogey nine on the par-five eighth, two double-bogeys and five bogeys.
For Davidse, it’s a question of finding more of the same in the remaining three rounds. “If I can get three more rounds like this one, no-one will catch me,” he laughed.