Sunday, 21 January, 2018

Course record sees Saddier take joint SA Open lead

Retief Goosen rolled back the years but slipped five off the pace after an expensive last hole Retief Goosen rolled back the years but slipped five off the pace after an expensive last hole
Noah Ferguson | 13 January, 2018, 11:50

Among four contenders lying one shot further back were the first round leaders, Branden Grace of South Africa and Chase Koepka of the United States.

Grace, a South African, had a haywire front nine that included two eagles, two birdies and two bogeys.

They lead by one stroke from Chris Paisley of England after a day that brought relief to officials as predicted seasonal electrical storms did not arrive.

Saddier, 25, is yet to drop a shot after 36 holes at Glendower Golf Club and finished birdie-eagle-birdie in to shoot into the joint-lead of the second oldest Open championship in the world.

But ex-US Masters champions Mike Weir (146) of Canada and Trevor Immelman (149) of South Africa bowed out after the second round. For his third shot, he had a gap toward the front of the green (the pin was back left), but out of a fluffy lie, the ball came out high and hit more trees, bouncing left and settle near another tree. But this is a golf course that I've traditionally done pretty well on, and a place that I really love. It is a great start to the year.

Despite going round in 70 shots on Friday, Charl Schwartzel is still very much in the hunt at five-under-par overall, and so, too, Erik van Rooyen, who's also at five-under after making only a level-par 72.

Koepka matched Grace with halves of 32 and 33 as he recovered from bogeying the first hole of each nine.

He is joined on that score by France's Adrien Saddier and their total is enough to leave the pair four clear of Jacques Kruyswijk. The only one I was really aggressive with was the second hole. "I just stayed patient after that first hole setback", he said.

The three-time Major victor even managed to make the quadruple bogey without taking a penalty stroke as he hacked his way up the left-side of the 454-yard par 4 before eventually signing for an eight which left him on level par for the tournament before a bounce-back birdie at the last and an eventful round of one-under, 69.

Four consecutive birdies from the 10th lifted Schwartzel's round, while the card of four-time Major victor Els was stained by successive bogeys at par fours.

And Jamie Donaldson recorded the first hole-in-one of this year's tournament when he aced the par-three 14th with a nine iron.

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