Swede Joakim Lagergren opened with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to lead South Africa’s Casey Jarvis by a single stroke after the first round of the SA Open on Thursday.
“Golf was fun today. I really enjoyed it. I feel like I got the most out of it,” said Lagergren after walking off the Blair Atholl Golf and Equestrian Estate course, officially the longest golf course in DP World Tour history.
“One of the par-threes played 240 metres today – that might be one of the longest I’ve ever played. As for the rest of the course, the fairways are firm if you’re hitting good drives. But it’s rare that you’re standing with a wedge in your hands on a par-four here. It’s long.”
As his nearest challenger Jarvis, who won the Freddie Tait Cup as the leading amateur in this championship in 2020, said patience played a key role in his opening round.
“I don’t hit the ball as far as some of the others out here so it is physically and mentally challenging and you need to just stay patient. I managed my game well.”
The trio of South Africa’s Jovan Rebula and Louis de Jager as well as 2015 champion Andy Sullivan of England all signed for rounds of five-under-par 67.
At just one shot off the lead, Jarvis is well aware of the expectation on him to follow a stellar amateur career in which he put his name on all the major South African trophies by adding his name to the SA Open trophy as a professional.
“I’d like to win this as a professional but I’m taking it one day at a time and seeing where it goes. I’m not putting pressure on myself. My expectations are always high but if I don’t put pressure on myself I play a lot better, and I feel like I’ve managed that really well this year.”
Christiaan Bezuidenhout, the winner of the SA Open in December 2020, made a strong start with his round of four-under-par 68.
Altin van der Merwe and Daniel Bennett came through the first day as the leading amateurs after both signing for rounds of level-par 72, while the world’s No 1 amateur Christo Lamprecht carded a 76.