McGuigan leads PGA Championship by stroke

2010-02-19 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Doug McGuigan took a new attitude into yesterday’s first round of the Telkom PGA Championship and opened with a seven-under-par 65 to lead the R3 million tournament at Country Club Johannesburg.

McGuigan made seven birdies and no bogeys for a one-stroke lead over the trio of Alex Haindl, Divan van den Heever and Josh Cunliffe.

“I’ve been struggling and this is kind of a nice surprise,” said McGuigan.

“I’ve been struggling to score for the last few months. I’ve made cuts, but haven’t been competitive, and it’s been frustrating.

“I didn’t make any bogeys, made seven birdies, kept my cool, everything was good. Today everything just came together.”

Apart from the work on the technical aspects of his game which he has put in, the biggest difference for McGuigan has been to the mental side of his game. And he has his girlfriend, who is studying psychology, to thank for this.

“She walked with me in the first round, so she could see how I lose it out there. I do have a fuse. If it’s not going my way, I’m not a happy camper. In the last couple of tournaments, my last rounds haven’t been good.

“But this round is a great confidence booster for me. I haven’t had low scores for the last month or two, and you’re always concerned about when the bad run might end.”

Another key to McGuigan’s round was his ability to keep the ball on the fairway on a Woodmead course which, after the recent rains, has incredibly thick rough.

“But I did miss two fairways in a row and I got a bit frustrated with that, because you can make bogeys quickly out of this rough,” he said.

Haindl agreed. “The rough is very unpredictable.”

The Bloemfontein professional is hoping to build on his first good start in several tournaments, while Van den Heever is hoping to do the same as he seeks to make his first cut since October.

Leading first-round scores (RSA unless specified):

65 - Doug McGuigan

66 - Alex Haindl, Divan van den Heever, Josh Cunliffe

67 - P.G. van Zyl, Keith Horne, Dawie Van der Walt, Darren Fichardt, Louis Oosthuizen, Tjaart van der Walt

68 - T.C. Charamba (Zim), Justin Harding, Jaco Ahlers, Prinavin Nelson, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jake Roos

69 - Louis Moolman, Anton Haig, Branden Grace, Jbe’ Kruger, Bradford Vaughan, Ross Wellington, Neil Cheetham (Eng), P.H. McIntyre, Eugen Marugi, Ryan Tipping, Deane Pappas, Richard Sterne, Des Terblanche, Charl Coetzee, Theunis Spangenberg


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