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30th August 2022 | Big Easy Tour

Hendler, Burke in early lead at ERPM

Ricky Hendler admits that he has not been at his best lately, but was happy to shoot six-under-par 66 in round one of the Altron Big Easy Tour tournament which placed him in a share of the early lead at ERPM Golf Club on Tuesday.

Hendler entered this 54-hole tournament on the back of two missed cuts on this circuit. On Tuesday, he looked like a different player en route to his 66. He started shakily on the 10th, making a bogey there before making two pars to calm the nerves. Those were followed by a brace of birdies which saw him turn in 35.

“I haven’t felt great with my game at the moment,” admitted the left-handed Hendler who plays out of Dainfern Golf Club. “I’ve just started with Doug Wood at Serengeti to help me a bit with my game. Today was just a result of the hard work I have done in the last couple of weeks.

“I didn’t have the best of starts when I came out today but I had a couple of nice birdies on the front nine; didn’t take advantage of the par-fives on the back nine but somehow birdied the last four holes and it all came together.”

Hendler birdied the first hole – his 10th – after the turn and for a stretch of four holes straight, birdies seemed to have abandoned Hendler. After that, Hendler found his groove; birdieing all four holes that remained in his opening round to seal a round of 66.

“I’m really happy with my start because I’ve struggled a lot but I have also worked really hard to get back to my best. I came out the first five events really well and got my win, and after that, it just got the other way quickly. It’s golf. The putting was a bit of a struggle but I knew that eventually I will put a good round together and I am happy that I did.”

Hendler shares the top spot with Christiaan Burke who shot a flawless 66 on day one. Burke’s round was characterised by a solitary birdie on the front while he made five on the homeward stretch. Third on the leaderboard after 18 holes is Gerhard Pepler who won the last event at Soweto Country Club. He shot five-under 67 on day one at ERPM

Veteran campaigner Ryan Tipping is in a nine-way share of fourth on three-under-par after one round.

The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout amongst its former Order of Merit winners.