Champions and Challengers tee off at Sun City

Posted on: 30 Nov 2012
report by Ursula Brown Managing Editor with photographs by Patrick Allen National Photographic Editor Cape Info SA (assisted by Xylan de Jager).

ANY THEY'RE OFF........ with rookies, Haas and Colsaerts running away from the pack. 

Tight fairways, howling winds and the now infamously treacherous rough kept players on their toes (clubs in hand) at the Gary Player Country Club on day one of Nedbank Golf Challenge, Thurs 29 Nov 2012.  Bill Haas (USA) and Nicolas Colsaerts (Belgium) claimed a share of the first-round lead with two-under rounds of 70 apiece.

A significant breeze and a tough layout ensured that none of the players were able to escape the chasing pack, and 10 of the 12 players in the field finished the first day within two strokes of each other. Haas, who had reached four-under by the 15th, surrendered two bogeys to the course on the 16th and 18th holes, but was still pleased to finish where he did.

Colsaerts was playing behind the American, and put together a controlled round. He reached the turn at even par after a birdie and a bogey on the front nine, and appeared set for a birdie blitz after making consecutive birdies at 10th and 11th holes. However, he could only manage to par his way home, and missed a putt from inside six feet for birdie on the final hole. 

Local hero Louis Oosthuizen at one stage slipped to two-over for his round, but produced three birdies coming home without any further blemishes to finish on a respectable score of 71 and closed the day out in a three-way tie for third with Paul Lawrie and Lee Westwood (defending champion). 

Both Lee and fellow country-man Justin Rose struggled with Rose only posting a score of 73. It was only South African Garth Mulroy who was cut adrift somewhat on day one as he shot a disappointing round of 75.

Meanwhile, in the concurrently-run Nedbank Champions Challenge, Bernhard Langer stormed to a three-shot first round lead after posting a bogey-free round of 68. The German played with Sandy Lyle in the first pairing of the day, and looked untroubled as he cruised round the challenging Pilanesburg course.

America’s Mark Calcavecchia had been hot on the 55 year-old’s heels all day, but a double-bogey at the 18th hole meant the 1989 Open Champion had to settle for an opening round of 71 to finish the day in second place with countryman Jay Haas.

Pic 1 : 32rd Nedbank Golf Challenge
Pic 2 : Louis Oosthuizen - leads the South African charge at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Pic 3 : Martin Kramer is back!
Pic 4 : Francesco Molinari ready to roll (the ball that is.....)