GEORGE (Western Cape) – Casey Jarvis took full advantage of a picture perfect day at Fancourt and a forgiving Outeniqua golf course, and signed for a 64 to lead the first round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am on Thursday.
Jarvis’s round of eight under par earned him a one-stroke lead over fellow South African Luke Jerling and Sweden’s Adam Blomme in this Sunshine Tour and European Challenge Tour co-sanctioned tournament. And he also leads in the team event with his amateur partner and Executive Director of the Sunshine Tour, Selwyn Nathan, on 11 under.
Jerling’s three-putt at the last on the Outeniqua cost him a share of the lead. Blomme shot his round of seven under par on The Links, traditionally the most challenging of the three Fancourt courses used in rotation for this tournament. But on the opening day the Montagu course also proved quite a test with only one score from here – Ruaidhri McGee’s 66 – making it into the top five on the leaderboard.
Jean Hugo, who has finished second here before, and Oliver Bekker are both well-placed on six under par.
Jarvis was delighted with a performance that reinforces the hard work he’s been doing to give himself chances on tour. Towards the end of last year he finished second in the South African PGA Championship, and then made a strong run at the lead in the Joburg Open on his way to finishing ninth.
“Before the end of last year I saw a friend of mine and he helped me with my swing just before the big tournaments, and I started hitting the ball really well. There were a few times when I put myself in some good positions in those events. I just want to keep putting myself there and keep learning. I’m learning more every time I’m out here and gaining experience,” said Jarvis.
Jarvis didn’t hold back on day one as he went out determined to take advantage of the Outeniqua layout.
“I was aggressive from the beginning. I knew I was hitting the ball well and in control of my irons. I didn’t really miss many iron shots today. I played really well right from the start. I hit the ball solid all day. In my practice rounds I worked especially hard on my putting and it paid off today. I rolled in a lot of putts. I’m just really pleased with my performance.
“It’s nice starting the tournament on the Outeniqua course and putting in a good low score that sets me up for the more challenging courses over the next few days.”
Jarvis’s performance had former Kaizer Chiefs and Bafana Bafana star Jimmy Tau in awe as he was given a front-row seat as one of the VIP amateurs competing alongside the pros this week.
“You just stand there and admire them. I was in awe every time the pros hit their shots. Their work ethic and the way they conduct themselves is so professional. As a social golfer you think you understand what it takes to play at this level until you get out there with them, and you see it takes a lot to be a pro.” – Michael Vlismas