Goose flies low at home
Home favourite Retief Goosen and Germany’s Alex Cejka shared the lead after the first round of the South African Open.
Home favourite Retief Goosen and Germany’s Alex Cejka shared the lead after the first round of a rain-affected South African Open after scores of eight-under-par 64 in Durban.
The pair were a shot clear of world number 12 Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel after their 65s, while Englishman David Dixon was in a group of six players a further shot back on six under.
Amongst them was Spaniard Carlos Del Moral with the rest – Richard Sterne, Jaco Ahlers, Garth Mulroy and Tyrone van Aswegen – all South African.
Ten others, including Open champion Oosthuizen, David Drysdale from Scotland and England’s Richard McEvoy, were on five under following a low-scoring day at the Durban Country Club, which was effectively day one after organisers abandoned play yesterday less than two and a half hours after the start because the constant rain main conditions unplayable.
Round two, weather permitting, is now scheduled for tomorrow and organisers plan a cut to 50 as they bid to squeeze in 36 holes on Sunday.
Two-time former champion Goosen came into the day having already completed four holes yesterday, but despite his success, he endured a mixed day with two bogeys coming in alongside a pair of eagles and six birdies.
Speaking afterwards, he said: “Obviously, that’s the way you want to start. It went nicely for me yesterday, those four holes in the rain when I managed to get two birdies and then on the first this morning I got another one to keep the momentum going.
“I’m off to a good start so hopefully I can try and start building on this tomorrow afternoon. Then we’ll see what happens on Sunday if we play 36 or 18.”
Cejka, a four-time winner on the European Tour, went through his round faultless with his eight birdies split across both nines.
“It was a good day,” he said. “The practice rounds were not so good for me, but today was excellent.
“There’s still three rounds to go, which is a long, long way. Hopefully I can play well in the next three days.”
Four-time winner Els, who is the highest ranked player in the field, has had an up and down year – his last Tour victory coming back in March – but is aiming to now build on his effort today.
“I missed quite a few putts on the front nine and was getting a little annoyed with myself, but I played a really solid back nine,” added Els, who came home in 31.
“You know I just hit the ball really nicely and that’s something I can take out of today.
“I really feel like I’m solid from tee to green and you need to be on this course. Hopefully that back nine will give me a lot of confidence for the weekend.”
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