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8th March 2024

‘Iron and Grit’ earns Davidse share of Jonsson Workwear Open lead

The tagline for the 2024 Jonsson Workwear Open is “Iron and Grit”. South Africa’s Keenan Davidse has had to show exactly this as he’s worked through an extremely difficult time in his personal life, but ended Thursday’s first round of this tournament a content man both inside and outside the ropes.

Davidse signed for an eight-under-par 64 at Glendower Golf Club to share the lead with Spain’s Ivan Cantero. They are one stroke clear of a strong South African challenge including Thriston Lawrence, Oliver Bekker and Louis de Jager, with the in-form Robin Williams just two shots back.

Davidse was delighted with his start in this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament, and spoke with a sense of relief at feeling a balance in his life and game again.

“I’m on a good foot again. We’ve had some personal challenges as a family and it’s been tough, but we’ve overcome it. That’s my motivation at the moment – my wife and my kids. We all know it’s a tough life out on tour. Golf can bring you down. But with my family and my golf I’m in a good space, and I think that’s what’s motivating me,” said Davidse.

The South African is no stranger to leading a DP World Tour co-sanctioned event, having also done so in the 2017 Joburg Open. But it’s a lesson he learnt last week, where he finished tied 16th in the SDC Championship, that he’s tried to bring into his game here.

“I made 27 birdies last week to finish 16th. I made nine birdies today and one bogey, so I told myself if you limit the bogeys you can score because I make enough birdies,” he said.

Behind him lies the experience of multiple DP World Tour winner Lawrence, who was equally pleased with one of his best opening rounds of late.

“I just had a great day. I had fun and stayed patient and it worked out pretty nicely. I don’t think I’ve shot seven under in a first round in a while. To be up there on day one really helps me. I know I’m good over a weekend, but it’s important if you want to win to go low on day one.”

And on six under par, Williams finds himself in contention for a maiden DP World Tour title for the second week in succession after losing a playoff for last week’s SDC Championship.

“I had time to reflect on last week. This week is a new week on a course I enjoy so I’m looking forward to it. I feel this golf course suits me. Getting so close last week shows that what I’m working on is right and hopefully it’s just a matter of time.” – Michael Vlismas.