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15th September 2023

Moolman battles weather to lead Vodacom Origins Devonvale

STELLENBOSCH, Western Cape – Pieter Moolman survived a brutal first round of wind, rain and weather delays to post a five-under-par 66 and claim a two-stroke clubhouse lead in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Devonvale Golf and Wine Estate.

The last vestiges of the Cape winter brought wind and rain on day one of this Sunshine Tour event, which resulted in a suspension because of waterlogged greens. Play did eventually resume, but the first round will have to be completed on Saturday morning.

Moolman made it into the clubhouse just before darkness, and with CJ du Plessis his nearest challenger following a three-under 68.

“A delay always lengthens your day. I’m very happy because the conditions were very tough out there. I’m not really happy with where my game is at right now. I’m not playing like I need to. But I’m just keeping it in play and giving myself birdie opportunities where I can,” said Moolman.

As his nearest challenger, Du Plessis suffered the brunt of the bad weather in the morning and was delighted to sign for a round of 68.

“It was exceptionally tough. The weather was brutal and there were strong winds and delays, so I was really pleased with my round,” he said of a day which started on the 10th hole for him and which he bogeyed before responding with an eagle at the next.

“I felt like 10 was probably the toughest hole on the course today. I was happy with my bounce back on 11, where I hit a good drive and then a beautiful four iron to three feet and made the putt.”

Du Plessis broke through with his maiden Sunshine Tour victory in July’s SunBet Challenge Wild Coast Sun, closing with a strong 64 to win there. He followed this with a finish of tied third in the FNB eSwatini Challenge. But then came a run of three missed cuts as he made a few swing changes before this performance.

“I’ve been too inconsistent, but as soon as the conditions are tough I seem to play well which means my focus is in the correct place. The way I can control my ball flight in windy conditions really helps me because I’m able to hit it low. That was the key to my round. I picked the right flight on the ball depending on the wind direction.”

Tara Griebenow leads the Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals who are competing alongside the Sunshine Tour golfers for the same prize money for the first time in the history of Vodacom Origins of Golf series. She opened with a round of one over par. – Michael Vlismas