A putting tip from his father helped Thriston Lawrence equal his own course record and lead the first round of the Investec South African Open at Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate on Thursday.
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The South African matched the eight-under-par 64 he shot here in a Sunshine Tour event over a year ago for a one-stroke lead over England’s Ross Fisher and Swede Jens Fahrbring.
“I’m quite familiar with this golf course. I played nicely and managed to drop a few putts thanks to a tip from my father,” said Lawrence.
“After last week’s Joburg Open my dad asked me for some time on the putting green and said I wasn’t looking comfortable and should stand a bit further away from the ball. He told me to just trust him, which I did, and it helped.”
It was the perfect start for Lawrence on a golf course that by its sheer length challenged the field on a warm day in Africa.
“It’s a very long golf course, but I like to play full shots into the greens. I think my mid to high irons are the key to my game. It is a long golf course but it suits me. I’m sticking to my gameplan and being aggressive off the tee. I love playing aggressively and this golf course gives you that opportunity. And to start like this in my national Open means everything. Everybody wants to get their hands on that trophy and it’s a good start.”
Lawrence has just come off a rookie DP World Tour season in which he won twice and became the first South African to be named the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. And he’s clearly picked up from where he left off in this new season.
“I just kept doing what I’m doing. I’m a big believer in not changing what works. I’ve been doing the same things for the last few years and am a big believer in not changing what’s already working.”
Fahrbring, who admits he’s not a long hitter, put everything into his opening 65 to be one off the lead alongside Fisher.
“I tried to hit my driver as hard as I could and today it went straight and fairly long for me. I hit some quality iron shots and made some putts, which was good. I’m quite tired, so home, rest, get some food and drink a lot of water,” he said.
SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN – ROUND 1 SCORES
64 – Thriston Lawrence
65 – Ross Fisher, Jens Fahrbring
66 – Matti Schmid, Scott Jamieson, JJ Senekal
67 – Luke Brown, Santiago Tarrio, Tom McKibbin, Edoardo Molinari, Wilco Nienaber, Anthony Michael
68 – Jens Dantorp, Dan Bradbury, Jayden Schaper, Charl Schwartzel, Clement Sordet, Darren Fichardt, Mateusz Gradecki, Marc Warren, Thomas Aiken, Aaron Cockerill, Kristian Krogh Johannessen, Christoffer Bring
69 – Zander Lombard, Nathan Kimsey, Jeremy Freiburghaus, Daniel Gavins, Sam Hutsby, Jeong Weon Ko, Kyle De Beer, Christiaan Maas, Marcel Siem, Deon Germishuys, Gary Hurley, Richard Sterne, Chase Hanna
70 – Nick Bachem, Martin Rohwer, Adrian Otaegui, Pieter Moolman, Jacques Kruyswijk, Dylan Frittelli, Mikael Lindberg, Hennie du Plessis, Freddy Schott, Tristen Strydom, Alex Haindl, Bryce Easton, Jean Hugo, Luca Filippi, Renato Paratore, Matthew Spacey, Toto Thimba Jnr, Dean Burmester, Ockie Strydom, Tapio Pulkkanen, James Hart du Preez, Jaco Prinsloo, Luke Jerling
71 – Francesco Laporta, Aldrich Potgieter, Oliver Bekker, Keenan Davidse, Rourke van der Spuy, Sean Crocker, Combrinck Smit, Branden Grace, CJ du Plessis, David Ravetto, Matthew Southgate, Merrick Bremner, MJ Daffue, Simon Forsstrom, Michael Palmer, Albert Venter, Gary Stal, Romain Langasque, Ashun Wu, Robin Sciot-Siegrist, Daniel Brown, George Coetzee, Wynand Dingle, Justin Walters, MJ Viljoen, Jonathan Broomhead, Malcolm Mitchell, Musiwalo Nethunzwi
72 – Dale Whitnell, Sami Valimaki, Joost Luiten, Alexander Knappe, Todd Clements, Yurav Premlall, Gudmundur Kristjansson, Brandon Stone, James Morrison, Jean-Paul Strydom, Rhys Enoch, Alejandro Del Rey, Jacquin Hess
73 – Brooklin Bailey, Keelan Africa, Erik van Rooyen, Jorge Campillo, Adam Breen, Martin Simonsen, Hennie Otto, Angel Hidalgo, Jaco Ahlers, Rupert Kaminski, Louis Albertse, Jake Redman, Heinrich Bruiners, Janko van der Merwe, Shaun Norris, Grant Forrest, JC Ritchie, Louis de Jager, Lyle Rowe, Adrien Saddier, Lukas Nemecz, Matthew Baldwin, Andrew Williamson, Callum Mowat
74 – Dylan Naidoo, Jbe’ Kruger, Jaco van Zyl, John Murphy, Daniel van Tonder
75 – Matias Calderon, Dylan Mostert, Ruan Korb, Jacques Blaauw, John Axelsen, Tobias Eden, Joshua Lee, Ruan Conradie, Anton Karlsson, Philip Eriksson, Marcus Armitage, Darius van Driel, Herman Loubser
76 – Haydn Porteous, Joachim B. Hansen, Nicholaus Frade
77 – Gerard du Plooy, Stephen Ferreira, Toby Tree, Keelan van Wyk, Estiaan Conradie, Casey Jarvis, Wade Jacobs
78 – Graeme Storm, Oliver Hundeboll, Nikhil Rama