St. Francis - It was a day of firsts for Keith Horne in the Vodacom Origins of Golf on Wednesday.
He played St Francis Links for the first time in a competitive round. He immediately fell in love with this course. A
nd he shot a course record seven-under-par 65 to lead the first round.
On a perfect day of sun and no wind in the Eastern Cape, Horne did not drop a single shot on his way to the top of the leaderboard in this Sunshine Tour event.
He is two clear of Port Elizabeth local Titch Moore.
"I love the golf course. The greens are quite severe so if you get on the wrong side of the hole it can be very scary.
"But at the same time this course rewards good shots. If you hit a good shot the ball feeds in right next to the hole," Horne said.
The result of such impressive approach shots from Horne were a number of short birdie putts in his opening round.
"Before my final two birdies, the longest birdie putt I had was about four foot." But his love for the golf course stems from its ability to demand 100% focus from those who play it.
"It's a demanding golf course and every hole can see you make a big number.
"That helps me concentrate and keep my focus. I always play well on that kind of golf course. I never take any shots for granted."
Horne is in sublime form at present with three top-10s in his last four tournaments. And this at a time when he is still recovering from a snapped Achilles tendon a few months back during a game of garden soccer with his children.
Behind him, Moore is his biggest threat, playing a course he knows incredibly well and where he has won before and lost in a playoff in this event to JJ Senekal last year.
Scores from the opening day of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament played at St Francis Links on Wednesday:
65 - Keith Horne (RSA)
67 - Titch Moore (RSA)
68 - JC Ritchie (RSA), Erik van Rooyen (RSA), Shaun Smith (RSA), Neil Schietekat (RSA)
69 - Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM), Allan Versfeld (RSA), Rhys West (RSA), Danie van Tonder (RSA), Alex Haindl (RSA)
70 - Warren Abery (RSA), Tyrone Ryan (RSA), Tyrone Mordt (RSA), Wallie Coetsee (RSA)
71 - Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA), Mark Williams (RSA), Tyrone Ferreira (RSA), Christiaan Basson (RSA)
72 - Gert Myburgh (RSA), Desne van den Bergh (RSA), Torben Baumann (GER), Dean Burmester (RSA), Attie Schwartzel (RSA), Jared Harvey (RSA), Le Roux Ferreira (RSA), Ulrich van den Berg (RSA), Andrew Curlewis (RSA), Ruan de Smidt (RSA)
73 - Steven Ferreira (RSA), Vaughn Groenewald (RSA)
74 - Adrian Ford (RSA), Chris Swanepoel (RSA), Colin Nel (RSA), Doug McGuigan (RSA), Jaco Ahlers (RSA), Oliver Bekker (RSA), Justin Turner (RSA), Charl Coetzee (RSA), Callum Mowat (RSA), Shaun Norris (RSA), Michael Hollick (RSA), JJ Senekal (RSA), Merrick Bremner (RSA), James Kamte (RSA)
75 - Pieter Moolman (RSA), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Alan Michell (RSA), Jean Hugo (RSA), Peter Karmis (RSA)
76 - Anthony Michael (RSA), Mark Murless (RSA), Francois Coetzee (RSA), Lindani Ndwandwe (RSA), PH McIntyre (RSA), Ockie Strydom (RSA), T I Mazibuko (RSA)
77 - Maritz Wessels (RSA), Jake Redman (RSA)
78 - Ryan Tipping (RSA), Lyle Rowe (RSA), CJ du Plessis (RSA)
79 - Drikus Bruyns (RSA), Francesco Laporta (ITA)
80 - Derick Petersen (RSA), Matthew Carvell (RSA)
82 - Derik Ferreira (RSA), Louis de Jager (RSA), Theunis Spangenberg (RSA), Drikus van der Walt (RSA), Heinrich Bruiners (RSA)
83 - Thabo Maseko (RSA)