Haig back in the running at Telkom

2011-02-25 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Anton Haig turned back the clock to the days when he was one of South Africa’s hottest young golfers with a seven-under-par 65 yesterday to share the first-round lead of the Telkom PGA Championship.

The 24-year-old, who won his first Sunshine Tour event at the age of 19 in 2005 and the 2007 Johnnie Walker Classic on the European Tour at 21, turned in an unexceptional three-under-par 33 after starting his round on the 10th hole of the Woodmead course at Country Club Johannesburg.

“I felt great from the very beginning,” he said. “I haven’t been having a great time lately. But I hit my first shot perfectly and then striped it all day after that.”

He could have had the outright lead instead of sharing it with Darryn Lloyd, Branden Grace, Oliver Bekker and George Coetzee, but for a bogey on the 17th.

A lapse in concentration cost him a penalty stroke on the fifth when he lifted his ball from the fairway.

“We’ve had so much rain this year,” he laughed, “that I just did it without thinking. I had the ball in my hand, and then I saw my tee on the ground to mark it — so I had to call a penalty stroke on myself.”

He still managed a par four on the 434-metre hole.

“I haven’t had so much fun for a long time,” said Haig. “It’s easy to say I’ll do the same in the second round, but that’s what I’m going to try and do, even though I’m leading now.”

Defending champion Michiel Bothma had a slow start with a one-over 73; last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am winner Hennie Otto opened with a 66, while European Tour stars Thomas Aiken and James Kingston each carded a two-under 72. — O.C.

Scores (RSA unless specified):

65 -Darryn Lloyd, Oliver Bekker, George Coetzee, Branden Grace, Anton Haig

66 -Mark Murless, Colin Nel, Adam Hadwin (CAN), Ryan Strauss, Deane Pappas, Hennie Otto

67 -Albert Pistorius, Jbe’ Kruger, Chris Swanepoel, Darren Fichardt

68 -Christian Ries, PH McIntyre, Keith Horne, Doug McGuigan, Neil Cheetham (ENG), TC Charamba (ZIM), Garth Mulroy, Brett Liddle, Ryan Cairns (ZIM), Matthew Carvell, Christiaan Basson, Anthony Michael, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Daniel Greene, Neil Schietekat, Ockie Strydom

69 -Michael Scholz, Dean O’Riley, Louis de Jager, Andrew Georgiou, Jake Roos, Tyrone Ferreira, Divan van den Heever, Bradford Vaughan, Derek Scullard

70 -Dean Burmester, JG Claassen, Louis Calitz, Alan Michell, Thomas Aiken, Ryan Tipping, Brandon Pieters, Justin Walters, Jacques Blaauw, Charl Coetzee, Andre Cruse, Thomas Curtis (ENG), Jeff Inglis (ENG), Alex Haindl, James Kingston, Alan McLean (SCO), Ulrich van den Berg, Tyrone Ryan, David Hewan, JJ Senekal

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