South African trio off to a slow start at The Masters

SA professional golfer Charl Schwartzel in action

Charl Schwartzel led the way from an SA perspective in the first round of The Masters with a two-over 74 in a tie for 54th. Picture: John G Mabanglo/EPA

Published Apr 7, 2023


Centurion - It was a slow day for Mzansi as the three South Africans were all over par at The Masters, in the first round at Augusta on Thursday.

Charl Schwartzel led the way from an SA perspective with a two-over 74 (the same score as American Tiger Woods) in a tie for 54th, Louis Oosthuizen signed for a four-over 76 for a share of 73rd and amateur Aldrich Potgieter was a further shot adrift on five-over 77 in 78th position.

Norwegian Victor Hovland and Spain’s John Rahm, and American Brooks Koepka led the way on seven-under 65.

Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was never under par for his round after a bogey at the par five first.

Further drops followed at the par four fifth and par four seventh for Schwartzel. A final bogey at the par four 11th. The former world number six, now ranked 214th, managed just the two birdies in his round at the par five eighth and par three 12th.

Oosthuizen, meanwhile, had a solid start as he was one-under after the first six with his only birdie of the round coming at the par four second.

A disastrous double bogey six halted Oosthuizen’s progress at the seventh hole. There he pulled his drive left, had to chip out before finding a greenside bunker with his third. A bad lie in the sand meant Oosthuizen could only blast out to 30 feet and a two-putt double drop was the result.

Oosthuizen’s battles continued with bogeys at 10 and 11, before another at the 18th as he fell to four-over.

The 18-year-old Potgieter may have hoped to soak up the experience in his debut at The Masters, and that he did with visits to all parts of Augusta as he managed just nine pars in his round. In fact, Potgieter had five bogeys and a triple, with three birdies thrown in.

The triple bogey came at the par five 13th, where Potgieter was harshly punished. After a perfect drive down the right, Potgieter pulled his iron approach as he went for the green but ended up in a bush next left of the putting surface.

From there he had to take a penalty drop but still an incredibly quick downhill chip awaited and he proceeded to knock his ball into the greenside hazard. From the next penalty drop from the other side of the creek, Potgieter took another three shots before signing for a ‘snowman’.

It looks like the 11-year SA major drought will continue for another tournament, unless Schwartzel and Oosthuizen produce much better scores on Friday. For Potgieter, he will hope for something miraculous if he is to be around for the weekend.


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