The last two holes provided just the boost Morten Orum Madsen needed for him to claim the lead in the first round of the Tshwane Open at Pretoria Country Club on Thursday.
Madsen, who started his round on the 10th tee, spun a 54-degree wedge back a long way on the 123-metre eighth hole for a fabulous hole-in-one and then posted an eagle-three on the ninth for a seven-under-par 63 that gave the Dane, the 2014 SA Open winner, the early lead in the co-sanctioned event.
Englishman David Horsey also posted a 63 later in the day, with seven birdies and no bogeys, to share the lead after the first day, one shot ahead of South Africa’s in-form Wallie Coetsee and Australian Brett Rumford.
There are even more locals on five-under-par, in a tie for fifth, with Dean Burmester, Keith Horne, and Merrick Bremner all shooting 65s, while Chris Swanepoel, Oliver Bekker, last week’s Africa Open winner Trevor Fisher Junior, Justin Walters, Ockie Strydom and Erik van Rooyen are all on four-under.
Madsen’s efforts on Thursday follow closing rounds of 64 and 66 in last weekend’s Africa Open.
“I’ve put it in the fairway a lot more recently. I’m giving myself a lot more looks at birdie and that makes everything easier. It takes the stress off the putter a bit and it’s easier to relax,” Madsen said.
Horsey picked up three birdies on the front nine and was delighted with his finish, especially birdies on the 16th and 17th holes.
“The last five or six holes are tough and there aren’t many chances, so those were nice birdies. And it’s always good to not have any bogeys because one loose tee-shot here leads to bogey or worse,” Horsey said.
But it was Madsen who gained four shots on his last two holes to steal the limelight.
“I hit a fantastic shot on eight, I couldn’t hit it better, and it spun back into the hole. Then when you stand on the next tee you’re pretty pumped and confident. I succeeded in gathering my thoughts and hit a really nice drive and then a great second shot to 12 feet. It was the kind of thing you dream about, but don’t expect,” Madsen said.