Dream round of 64 for Basson at Leopard Creek

ON A ROLL: Christiaan Basson lines up a putt on the ninth green during day one of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club in Malelane yesterday Picture: GETTY IMAGES
ON A ROLL: Christiaan Basson lines up a putt on the
ninth green during day one of the Alfred Dunhill
Championship at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club in
Malelane yesterday Picture: GETTY IMAGES

CHRISTIAAN Basson had an idea he was headed for something special, but he did not know it was going be this special.

The Cape professional opened with an eight-under-par 64 to take a three-stroke clubhouse lead on day one of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek yesterday.

Play was suspended because of lightning. The first round will resume at 6.30am today.

Basson’s nearest challengers are Zimbabwe’s Mark Williams and England’s Matt Ford on fiveunder, with three-time champion Charl Schwartzel also on five under but with the par-five 18th still to complete.

Niclas Fasth marked his 500th tournament with an opening round of four-under 68. Louis Oosthuizen signed for a round of two-under 70, including a double bogey on the second, and defending champion Branden Grace returned a 71 and also with a double on his card.

The ever-smiling Basson’s smile was even broader than usual after a round in which he drew inspiration from what his fellow Sunshine Tour professionals have been achieving of late.

“I’m very happy. I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams it would have gone this well. I knew my game was coming along and I’ve been in good form but I didn’t expect a 64.

“I was aiming for a couple under par at least. I was lucky to make a couple of putts and hit one or two close, which added to the momentum and that good score.”

There is a sense of anticipation among the Sunshine Tour professionals in the field this week following the graduation of three of their members to the European Tour for next year.

Ulrich van den Berg, Jean Hugo and Justin Walters all earned their cards at the recent Qualifying School.

And at a time when the South African professionals seek to capitalise on the European Tour events played on their home fairways, Basson says it has given him a bit of a lift this week.

“For us on the Sunshine Tour, these events are so big and so crucial in the season, so it’s just nice to play well in these.”

It was a typically scorching day on the lowveld, which Basson said he and his playing partners were discussing when the temperature was already soaring at 8.30am.

“They are not comfortable conditions to play in. But you have to make the best of it,” he said.

Nobody can accuse him of not having done that.

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