Thriston Lawrence made a strong bid to become only the third player to win two Joburg Open titles as he opened with a superb eight-under-par 62 to lead the first round by three strokes at Houghton Golf Club on Thursday.
Lawrence, the champion in 2021 and who is looking to join Charl Schwartzel and Richard Sterne as double winners of this title, produced a flawless round of golf that started with five birdies in his opening six holes. He added a further three birdies on the back nine for a round that is the lowest ever recorded at Houghton Golf Club with the course playing as a par 70 as it is this week.
“The putter was hot. It felt like I was reading the putts really nicely. The greens are firm so you could play some nice shots and plan for the undulations on these greens. I was pin high a few times, the proximity to the hole was good and the putter was on fire,” said Lawrence.
Lawrence’s nearest challenger is fellow South African Nikhil Rama who signed for a five-under-par 65, while defending champion Dan Bradbury – who was playing with Lawrence – is in a strong group of players on four under par which also includes Zander Lombard, Andy Sullivan, Jayden Schaper and Stephen Gallacher.
“I was trying to hang on with Thriston but he left me on the back nine. It was great playing with him though because he just kept hitting good golf shots. I hit a lot of very good shots and I had a few putts that I don’t know how they missed, but I’m still happy with the start,” said Bradbury.
Rama was equally delighted with his start. The young South African professional played his way into this event with a top-five finish in the Sunshine Tour’s Vodacom Origins of Golf Final, and took full advantage on Thursday.
“I’ve been playing really well and it’s good to see it pay off again. I know this golf course well. There was a bit of breeze but my game was very solid. I’m just enjoying it. It’s great being able to compete in a Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned event,” he said.
62 - Thriston Lawrence
65 - Nikhil Rama
66 - Jesper Svensson, Zander Lombard, Jacques Kruyswijk, Andy Sullivan, Jayden Schaper, Stephen Gallacher, Dan Bradbury, Jaco Prinsloo, Darren Fichardt, Stuart Manley
67 - Jaco Van Zyl, MJ Viljoen, Malcolm Mitchell, Frederic Lacroix, Clement Sordet, Darius van Driel
68 - Ricardo Gouveia, Ashley Chesters, Deon Germishuys, Casey Jarvis, Adri Arnaus, Dean Burmester, Oliver Wilson, Joakim Lagergren, Merrick Bremner, Ryan Van Velzen, Dylan Frittelli, Dylan Mostert
69 - Jake Redman, Louis de Jager, Andrea Pavan, Thomas Aiken, Kalle Samooja, Daniel Brown, Aaron Cockerill, Chase Hanna, Alexander Knappe, Jaco Ahlers, David Ravetto, Bryce Easton, Romain Langasque, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Matthew Southgate, Dylan Naidoo, Marc Warren, Tapio Pulkkanen, Dale Whitnell, Renato Paratore, Kristian Krogh Johannessen, Anthony Michael, Pedro Figueiredo