Three share lead with Stenson chasing at Sun Cityon November 10, 2016
SUN CITY, North West (10 November 2016) – The mercurial Gary Player Country Club kept most of the European Tour’s finest professionals guessing throughout a challenging first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player on Thursday.
Any time one of them looked up from its fairways, it wasn’t to admire the surrounding bush or perhaps spot a few animals, but rather to figure out the secret to the swirling winds.
“The course wasn’t playing very easy,” said Chile’s Felipe Aguilar, who signed for a four-under-par 68 to share a one-stroke lead with England’s Ross Fisher and South Korea’s Jeunghun Wang.
Race to Dubai leader Henrik Stenson is in the chasing group one shot back, and he summed up just how difficult a day it was.
“It was a tough day out there, and I didn’t play well. The wind swirled as it always does around here and it was very tough conditions. But I kept my patience and was rewarded.”
Also in that chasing group on three under are the South African duo of George Coetzee and Jaco van Zyl.
Coetzee was just as perplexed by the conditions.
“I think this makes Augusta National look like a playground with the way the wind swirls around here. It’s quite tough out there. You have to hit really good tee shots. You’ve got to judge the wind really well. You’ve got to get lucky a little bit like I did,” he said, referring to his two eagles and then a lucky bounce off the grandstands on 10 that kicked his ball onto the green and a foot from the hole from where he made birdie.
At the top of the leaderboard, Fisher was delighted with his birdie at the last to recover from his bogey on 17 and keep his title hopes well on track.
“I worked my butt off to birdie the last. The course is a lot more penal if you miss fairways. You can miss the fairway about five to eight yards and you’re okay. Any wider than that and the rough is really penal and around the greens as well. You can get some really thick, brutal lies out there.”
Masters champion Danny Willett struggled on the opening day with a round of three-over-par 75, while former champion Martin Kaymer signed for an 81.