Keenan Davidse (Rsa) – First Round 63 (-8)
I don’t know what to say (laughs). It’s not like I’m shocked. I’m obviously very happy, pleased obviously. I’ve worked very hard. I went to Mauritius last week and didn’t play too well. I was in hospital for about four days. So I’m very chuffed today.
When I played the Sunshine Tour event at Simola, my little boy was sick with a bad chest. Then my wife had flu, and then I got flu, and lost a lot of weight. I couldn’t deal with that and the heat in Mauritius so I checked myself into hospital for four days.
I didn’t really have any expectations coming into the week. I’m just out here to have fun, obviously, so I’m very blessed to be playing well.
Some people say Bushwillow is easy – and I have just shot 63 – but to be fair, it’s not easy. You can’t say any golf course is easy. You’ve still got to hit the ball. The flags were pretty good. The rough’s not as up as it is on Firethorn, but it’s a good test. You’ve still got to hit your ball in the right areas and then you have to make the putts.
I don’t have a preference for the courses. Firethorn is just another course. If you play what’s in front of you, you’re going to play well, but if you play fearing the tournament, you’re going to play badly. I’ve experienced that a few times. I’m not here to paint pictures. I’m here to write down numbers. I got a good number down today and I’m just going to take it day by day.
It’s always nice leading a big tournament, and especially the Joburg Open. I needed to play well today – it’s a good feeling.
Sebastian Heisele (Ger) – First Round 64 (-7)
I’m very happy. I had a good day. I was in position last week as well so hopefully I make the most of today and do a better job in the next few days. It was a good way to end the day because there are a couple of holes where you can pick up some shots.
I putted really well and hit the ball fairly well. I had a terrible bogey on the 14th hole after a bad bunker shot but I got away with one bad shot. I’ll take that and move into tomorrow.
There are 240 guys here so somebody is bound to shoot a low one, especially on that side of the course. We knew that going into today and told ourselves to try and play aggressive on that side and see where we stand.
I started with an eagle on the first and that gave me some momentum boost. It got easier from there and picked up another eagle on the 12th hole. I had a good finish in the end and I’m in good position for tomorrow.
James Morrison (Eng) – First Round 64 (-7)
I’m very happy. I played very well from start to finish. I had a really good three ball and we ticked along really well. We got lucky because we didn’t get any rain until the 18th fairway. The course is softer as compared to when I played on Monday. That’s the way it is with the storms we have here. Fingers crossed the rain will stay away from us.
My game is in really good shape. My brain is in good shape which is the main thing in this game. I finished top-10 in Hong Kong a couple of weeks ago. This game is a silly game, you never know when it is going to happen so you have to keep playing well and giving your best shot the whole time.
I hit the ball an average length. This course (Bushwillow) suits me down to the ground where you got to keep it on the fairway, hit it good with the short irons and wedges. I did that today. I got it in play and hit it close when I had to. I’m a good chipper and putter so this golf course sets up well for me. The other golf course is quite similar, if you can keep it in play, you have a chance to score.
Matthew Baldwin (Eng) – First Round 64 (-7)
I’m very pleased. It was nice playing first thing this morning. I got off to a good start with a pair of threes. We had a spell where there was quite heavy rain playing the third, but other than that, it’s been pretty good.
It was great getting two eagles. To start with an eagle is very nice and then to follow it up on 12 was a good feeling.
There wasn’t really pressure to get a good number knowing that I was playing Bushwillow first. You’ve just got to play your golf and see how you go. Now I’ve got three days on the so-called big course, and I’m looking forward to it.
The small greens on Bushwillow tested my game most. Second shots are important. Off the tees, it’s quite narrow in places. It’s more of a tactical course. It’s not driver everywhere, but I think the fact that the greens are small means if you hit a lot of greens, you’ve got a lot of birdie chances.
I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing when I take on Firethorn tomorrow. Unfortunately, I didn’t play last week in Mauritius, but hopefully this week I can make amends.
Getting a spot in The Open would be nice. But I’ll take things one day at a time.
Scott Barr (Aus) – First Round 65 (-6)
It was a tricky day. The wind was swirling and we had a little bit of rain at the start. It was a difficult day just to get the direction of the wind so I’m very pleased with what happened.
I played the front nine well and didn’t get what I deserved. The wind was playing havoc and but on the back nine my confidence was up and I played solid. I was out early and the greens were in great shape, the fairways are beautiful so it is actually a very nice golf course (Bushwillow) to play on.
It is a fun course to play on. It is short but you need to hit the right yardages off the tee. Tomorrow I’m playing on the big course so I need to wrap my head around that.
Mikko Korhonen (Fin) – First Round 66 (-6)
I made six birdies in a row on the back nine and that was pretty awesome. I played pretty solid on the front and the putts started to drop. I like the courses in South Africa and the courses suit my eye. It is fantastic to come back here.
The greens are perfect so I can’t complain. You can hole putts from a long distance so I really enjoyed myself. I hit some iron shots but putting was the key.
The Bushwillow is a different course. Probably more irons and ball placement off the tees.
Joachim B. Hansen (Den) – First Round 66 (-6)
I was very solid out there and drove it ball. That was the key. The putter was very good. I missed only two putts inside two metres so that’s very good. We got a bit of roll out there and it isn’t as wet as it should be. The course drains the water really well. My iron game wasn’t the best so I’ll work on that at the range. It could have been a really low round but the ball didn’t go into the hole. A six-under is a good score.
Gavin Green (Mas) – First Round 70 (-2)
It was frustrating on 10, 11 and 12. Other than that it was really solid. I just hit three bad drives to the left and I didn’t have a chance. I hit it out of bounds on 12 and that resulted in a double bogey. Very frustrating but I came back with an eagle – driver, eight iron to eight feet. That changed things a little bit.
I’m still in it. I will try and keep to the same game plan and try to keep my ball more in play and not be so wild. I felt comfortable and got off to a good start. I kept it going but a couple of bad tee shots moved me a little.
People say the Bushwillow course is easier but I don’t think so. It is shorter but narrow. If the wind blows it will play a big part. It will be a lot of two-irons and if I hit it good then I will stick to it. If I’m comfortable with the driver, then I’ll bomb some holes. Now I’m going to work on my driver.