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10th April 2024 | Big Easy Tour

Bogey-free Boshoff leads at Irene

The opening round of the Altron Big Easy Tour Play-Off tournament – which was suspended on Tuesday – got underway at Irene Country Club on Wednesday and Paul Boshoff carded a blemish-free seven-under 65 to lead by two strokes over Dylan O’Leary.

Scheduled for Tuesday 9 April, the opening round of this penultimate tournament in the regular season was abandoned due to inclement weather and resumed early on Wednesday. With the weather conditions a lot better than the previous day, Boshoff took full advantage of the improved conditions.

“The green-keeping staff did a wonderful job on this course,” remarked Boshoff. “Apart from a wet patch here or there, one would not believe that it rained so heavily here yesterday. The course is just phenomenal; the greens are truly in great shape considering the amount of rain yesterday.

“Other than that, though, I didn’t hit it as best as I wanted but I am very pleased with a bogey-free round. The ball-striking was not the best but I was able to get myself out of trouble when I needed to. A bogey-free 65 is never a bad start and I will take this sort of performance.”

Boshoff took advantage of the par-fives on his front nine; birdieing both the second hole and the ninth. After the turn, the Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate player didn’t hold back. He birdied the par-five 10th and followed it up with another on 11. Boshoff made further gains on the par-three 13th, making a birdie there before closing with two more on 17 and 18.

He is two shots clear of O’Leary who signed for a near-perfect five-under 67.

“I thought I had a shaky start because I pulled my driver on my first hole but I ended up making a par there,” said O’Leary who plays out of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington. “But, from there, I just let myself go and started to play my normal game. I birdied number two and three, and on both holes, I hit it very close. I just gave myself a lot of chances today and I was happy with that because in this game, you have to create opportunities for yourself.

“The bogey on 10; I got inside my own head a little bit there about that putt and I started to think about my score a little too much. But with hindsight, I’m almost glad I made the bogey because it kind of reset my thinking to say we still have a lot of golf to play and a long way to go. After that, I was just in the zone and tried to keep things as simple as I possibly could.”

Members of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, Franklin Manchest and Jordan Duminy tie third after the opening round, thanks to rounds of 68 apiece. Veteran campaigner, Andrew McLardy, Vaughn Van Deventer, Christopher Long, Ricky Hendler and another member of the Papwa Sewgolum Class, Allister de Kock share fifth on three-under.

Only the top 50 players on the Altron Big Easy Tour Order of Merit are eligible for the Play-Off tournament which precedes the Final event of the season.