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8th February 2024

Bawden and Pulkkanen lead Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open

CAPE TOWN – Englishman Bradley Bawden and Tapio Pulkkanen from Finland made full use of the perfect conditions during the first round of the Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open at the Royal Cape Golf Club to secure top spot on the leaderboard on Thursday.

Taking on a golf course with little to no wind, they shared a one-stroke lead on six-under 66 at the second of four Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournaments.

Bawden was the early leader with a solid round that included two fantastic eagles on the seventh and 11th, three birdies and a single bogey.

“It’s a pretty decent start. I didn’t play well last week so made a few changes and it showed today. I hit a few nice shots and holed a couple of nice puts.

“I wouldn’t say I was overly aggressive. On this course there are some tough shots, so you have to keep it in play. If you hit it in the right spots, you can shoot a score, and I was able to do that today.”

Pulkkanen then handed in a bogey-free scorecard that also saw him sink an eagle on the seventh and add four birdies.

“I’m very pleased. It was kind of a quiet day. I didn’t make too many putts or anything, just played steady before the finish.

“I didn’t make any bogeys, so that’s always important. I also made a few good par saves. Overall I hit it good off the tee and didn’t make too many mistakes.”

A group of six players, including South Africans Tristen Strydom and Stefan Wears-Taylor, are just one shot adrift on five-under 67.

Benjamin Follett-Smith, who won last year’s tournament by one shot, was among those who teed off in the morning.

Starting on the back nine, the Zimbabwean managed to grab four birdies before the turn, with a bogey on the par-four 17th the only blemish on that nine. The second nine produced one birdie and a bogey for a first-round score of three-under-par 69.