GQEBERHA (Eastern Cape) – Sweden’s Adam Blommé uses his words with the same precision as a scalpel as he describes the course strategy that earned him a 63 and the first-round lead in the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship at Humewood Golf Club on Thursday. “Keep the ball in play. Hit greens. Make putts. Nothing new”.
His round of nine under par puts him one stroke clear of South Africa’s Pieter Moolman, with the quartet of South African Anthony Michael, Frenchman Ugo Coussaud, Scotland’s Craig Howie, England’s Jack Singh Brar and Swede Henric Sturehed all well placed on seven under par in this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
And then Blommé adds, “No links shots whatsoever today”. That was the most telling comment on day one of this tournament on South Africa’s most historic links golf course. Blommé took full advantage of the ideal conditions and the lack of wind to entrench his number one status on the Challenge Tour’s Road to Mallorca standings, and confirm his good form coming into this event.
“We were lucky with the draw. There was no wind out there in the morning,” he said on a day when one of his playing partners, Ireland’s Conor Purcell, remarked that it was hard to believe his own round of five under par was the worst score in their group.
“This course is built for wind. We need the wind to pick up to make it challenging. I wouldn’t mind a bit of wind to be honest,” said Moolman.
The first round certainly rewarded the in-form golfers in what is the fourth and final event on the Sunshine Tour and Challenge Tour’s South African Swing.
Blommé has finished second and tied seventh in his last two tournaments in South Africa. Behind him, Moolman has finished no worse than 14th in his last three tournaments. And in the group on seven under, Coussaud has finished no worse than 13thin his previous three tournaments in South Africa.
When you consider that further back on six under par lies JJ Senekal, last week’s SDC Open champion, and Casey Jarvis, who has finished in the top-10 in his last two tournaments, then it will take something to separate a group of golfers all playing very well at present. – Michael Vlismas