Early birds thrive

2010-10-23 00:00

THE first day of the Suncoast Classic at Durban Country Club saw a tale of two halves, with the early starters taking advantage of serene conditions, while the afternoon field had a blustery wind to contend with yesterday.

Jean Hugo, one of the early-birds, stormed into the club-house lead with an excellent, eight-under par 64, to be two strokes ahead of Ryan Tipping, Brett Liddle and Jacques Blaauw.

Hugo admitted that he had the better conditions, and had a roller-coaster round that included a chip-in for eagle and a bogey at the tricky par-three 15th.

Like many others at “Country Club” this weekend, Hugo admitted that the prestigious layout is far from its best — especially with the 100th South African Open scheduled for the middle of December.

“The course is not quite ready,” he said. “But the greens are rolling nicely and if you get it on line, it somehow stays on line.”

Certainly, the fringes around the greens made for some interesting shot-making, and the Durban greenkeepers will have plenty on their hands from now until December 16.

Out on the course, Hugo’s fine round sat atop the leaderboard all day, though he will get a taste of the stiff sea-breeze when the tee-times are flipped over today.

There is a strong local contigent at the Classic, and the three Maritzburg lads — Colin Nel, Neil Schietekat and Daniel Greene — had contrasting fortunes.

Nel, who has had a tough maiden campaign in the paid ranks, had the best start, shooting a solid four-under 68 in the afternoon.

His sound knowledge of the course certainly came in handy, and he was in great spirits after his encouraging display.

Schietekat got himself to three-under by the par-five 10th, but then covered his last eight holes in a somewhat disappointing one-over par.

An excellent par -save at the notorious “Prince of Wales” hole, the par-three 12th, couldn’t rouse Schietekat, as he dropped a shot at the very next hole.

With the wind picking up, a two-under 70 was probably a decent outcome for the burly Schietekat.

Greene, meanwhile, finished the day on 71, seven shots off the lead.

The lanky Gowrie-based rookie has enjoyed an excellent start to Tour life, and will be looking to make strides up the leader-board when he tees off this morning.

Having tasted inter-provincial success with the KZN team at the same course last year, Greene knows the course better than most.

With calm conditions predicted for the morning, all three Maritzburg products will look to make hay before the wind picks up.

With the tournament being held over three days, today will most certainly be “moving day”.


(RSA unless specified)

64 - Jean Hugo

66 - Ryan Tipping, Brett Liddle, Jacques Blaauw

67 - Anthony Michael, Adilson da Silva (BRA), Keith Horne, Alex Haindl

68 - Ben Mannix (ENG), Matthew Carvell, Colin Nel, Josh Cunliffe, Jake Roos, Grant Muller, Michael Scholz


70 - Neil Schietekat

71 - Daniel Greene

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