Jean Hugo raced to a blemish-free, opening-round 60 of this season’s Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge and holds a one-stroke lead going into day two in Port Edward.
Getting out early and starting off the 10th tee, the veteran wasted no time in getting to work. He went birdie, par and eagle in his first three holes, and then two holes later made another birdie before making further gains on his eighth hole – the 17th of the golf course – as he turned in 30 and bogey-free.
As if that back-nine five under par wasn’t brilliant enough, Hugo then went on a four-birdie run after the turn and, again on his 16th hole, another birdie found its way on to his card for a perfect start to this week.
‘I had no real expectations to be honest,’ said Hugo after his fast start.
‘I started well, made a big putt on 10 which probably set the tone. Then I made an eagle on 12; quickly three under after three and kept things going. I think I missed one green today. It was close to a perfect round; 28 putts, you know, is not something scary like 23 or 24 putts.
‘All in all, I think it’s a really good round and tee to green, I was solid. I was five under after nine holes and then I birdied the first four on the back nine, and being a par 70, we always knew it was on the cards.’
With the possibility of a 59 quite real for Hugo going down the stretch, he had to call on his experience to keep himself focused and he did just that on Wednesday.
‘My playing partners were saying, “You’ve got this for 59”, ‘ Hugo revealed.
‘You obviously think about it. I had a good putt on the last hole but it just lipped out and didn’t make the turn. It would have been very special, you know, the 59. Somehow the 60 doesn’t feel that great but it was actually a good score. It could have been better but, also, it could have been worse so I’m very satisfied.’
Behind Hugo lurks a resurgent Callum Mowat, who also signed for an untainted round, but his was a nine-under 61. Also teeing off the 10th hole, Mowat picked up five birdies on that nine and four more on the homeward stretch.
He credits his opening-round score to a change of clubs and that decision paid dividends on Wednesday in Port Edward.
First round leaderboard:
60 – Jean Hugo
61 – Callum Mowat
63 – Jaco Ahlers
64 – Hennie du Plessis, Franklin Manchest, Lyle Rowe
65 – JC Ritchie, Neil Schietekat, Ruan de Smidt, Roberto Lupini, Teaghan Gauche
66 – Darin de Smidt, Yubin Jung, Dylan Naidoo
67 – Divan van den Heever, Luke Jerling, Chris Swanepoel, CJ du Plessis, Chris Cannon, Jacques Blaauw
68 – Greg Snow, Matthew Rushton, Clinton Grobler, MJ Viljoen, Titch Moore, Scott Campbell, Christiaan Basson, Keenan Davidse, Jaco Prinsloo, DK Kim, Dayne Moore, Estiaan Conradie, Merrick Bremner, Steve Surry, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Daniel van Tonder, Alex Haindl, Ruan Huysamen
69 – Francois van Vuuren, Arno Pretorius, Toto Thimba, Martin Rohwer, Oliver Bekker, Michael Palmer, Ruan Korb, Theunis Bezuidenhout, Louis Albertse, Jonathan Agren, Rhys West, Ockie Strydom, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Wallie Coetsee, David McIntyre
70 – Jason Diab, Doug McGuigan, Garth Mulroy, Wynand Dingle, Hennie Otto, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Ruan Conradie, Breyten Meyer, Fredrik From, Aubrey Beckley
71 – Ruan Botha, Anton Haig, Colin Nel, Andre De Decker, Deon Germishuys, Thanda Mavundla, Luke Brown, Altaaf Bux, Jonathan Waschefort, Juran Dreyer, Daniel Greene, Andrew van der Knaap, Jake Redman, Andre Nel, Jean-Paul Strydom, Duane Keun
72 – Adriel Poonan, Ryan Cairns, Hayden Griffiths, Combrinck Smit, Kyle McClatchie, Herman Loubser, Andrew Odoh, Caylum Boon
73 – Marco de Beer, Jared Harvey, Ryan O’Neill, Hendrikus Stoop, Jade Buitendag, Derick Petersen, Heinrich Bruiners, Jacques P de Villiers
74 – Andrew Curlewis, Luke Mayo, Pieter Moolman, Lwazi Gqira
75 – Wayne Stroebel, Nicholaus Frade, Philip Geerts, Peetie van der Merwe, Kyle Barker
76 – Dylan Mostert, Paul Boshoff, James Hart du Preez
77 – Makhetha Mazibuko
78 – Joe Nawanga, CJ Levey
79 – Tyrone Ryan, Christopher Van der Merwe
DSQ – Eugene Marugi
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