Two eagles on a topsy-turvy back nine on Thursday saw Coert Groenewald into a three-way share of the lead after the first round of the Big Easy Tour’s tournament at Modderfontein Golf Club.
Groenewald carded a five-under-par 67 to join Drikus van der Walt and Jason Viljoen in the lead, one stroke clear of a group of six players on four-under-par 68 – and his final nine holes included those eagles, three birdies, two pars and two bogeys.
“I had a good drive on 10,” said Groenewald of his two eagles, “and I had a five-iron in there to about six feet and made the putt. And then on 13 I hit a good drive again down the fairway. I had a soft little seven-iron, again to about six feet and made the putt as well.
“My front nine was kind of slow. I started off with a birdie and then made a bogey on the third hole. On the back nine, after the eagle on 10, I made a good par-save on 11 and missed a short one on 12. After the eagle on 13 I birdied the following two holes as well. And then coming down the stretch, I just made two silly drops,” he added.
Van der Walt’s round was less dramatic as he made six birdies and one bogey. “I’m happy with that start,” he said, “especially on Modderfontein where I think anything under par is a good score. I hit a lot of shots close and played the par-fives on the back nine well.”
Viljoen’s round , which started on the 10th, was similarly undramatic, with six birdies and a bogey, just like Van der Walt. “My first nine was a bit tough, but I got it back on the next nine,” he said. “The putter was a little bit cold at first but, luckily it warned up on the way in.”
The group on 68 consisted of Daniel Hammond, Mike Maile, Gert Myburgh, Teboho Sefatsa, and the winners of the last two Big Easy events, Mark Murless and Pieter Kruger.
A shot further back on two-under-par 70 was a group of 12 players, including Altaaf Bux who made an eagle two on the 427-metre par-five first.