JOHANNESBURG (Gauteng) – South Africa’s Darren Fichardt and Martin Vorster took advantage of a cool day and a receptive golf course to share the first-round clubhouse lead in the Jonsson Workwear Open at The Club at Steyn City on Thursday.
Fichardt set the clubhouse target with his morning round of eight-under-par 64, and was joined there in the afternoon by Vorster as both players never dropped a single shot on day one of this Sunshine Tour and DP World Tour co-sanctioned tournament.
They are one stroke clear of Sebastian Soderberg, Hennie O’Kennedy, Joakim Lagergren and Nick Bachem. Play was suspended at 18:27 because of fading light and with a few players still finishing off their first rounds. But none of them will challenge the current lead.
Momentum proved a key factor for both Fichardt and Vorster on Thursday.
Fichardt teed off the 10th and started his round with two consecutive birdies and never looked back.
“I just carried on with that momentum. I didn’t have a great warm-up so for my first two holes I was just focused on swinging it easy and hitting fairways and greens. I managed to make those two birdies and that was me. I just stayed consistent for the rest of the round. Once you get off to a hot start there’s no fixing up to do. You just keep riding the wave,” he said.
Vorster also enjoyed a momentum shift in his round. After missing a few short birdie putts towards the end of the front nine, the young star made an eagle on the 10th which sparked a run of four birdies in six holes thereafter.
“I’m very happy. After I missed a few short birdie putts on the front nine my caddie Michal just told me to be patient. On 10 I hit a great second shot and made the putt for eagle and that shifted the momentum for me. I hit the ball really well and gave myself plenty of opportunities and ended up making a few putts so a really solid start to the tournament.”
While the 47-year-old Fichardt is hunting his sixth DP World Tour victory, the 21-year-old Vorster is still in his rookie season on the Sunshine Tour and seeking his maiden professional victory this week.
Vorster has challenged on a few occasions already and is clearly starting to feel more and more comfortable in this position. “It’s a great spot to be in but the gameplan for the second round will be the same – hit fairways and greens and hopefully make a few putts,” he said.
Fichardt is also doing his best to stay in the present.
“The golf course is in excellent condition and there are low numbers out there. A good start always makes it easier for the rest of the week. But I’ll just go out and start the tournament from scratch again in the second round. I’ll play one-round tournaments mentally for myself.” – Michael Vlismas