BELA BELA, Limpopo – Jonathan Broomhead, Hunter Epson and Estiaan Conradie shared the first-round lead of the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Zebula Country Club on Friday with opening rounds of 66, but with Sunshine Ladies Tour professional Cara Gorlei just one stroke behind them.
Gorlei certainly made a statement with her opening 67 in what is a significant week for the local professional game, with the Sunshine Tour and Sunshine Ladies Tour professionals competing together for the first time in the same tournament for the same prize money.
Gorlei, fresh from playing mixed events in Thailand, looked right at home with her round of five under par and sits alongside Jovan Rebula and Heinrich Bruiners in the chasing pack.
At the top of the leaderboard, Broomhead was particularly impressive with his putter in a round that featured two stretches of three birdies in a row. Importantly, his first hat-trick of birdies came at the start of his round as he teed off on the 10thhole and began with three straights threes.
“I started really well and that has a lot to do with the setting where Zebula is, in the bushveld. I really enjoy the bush. It’s always relaxed and I just wanted to go out and see what I could do, and just take the round as it comes,” Broomhead said.
“It was a very crucial start for me. I’ve been hitting the ball really good lately and I hit it the same today. I’ve just been struggling with my putting and getting the ball in the hole. But my putting was the best part of my game today. I hit the ball well off the tees and the fairway, but I made a few fairly lengthy putts. I rolled the ball really nicely today and the greens are so good. They’re very fast and if you get the right line and pace then it pretty much always goes in. I definitely had more birdies today than I expected,” Broomhead said.
American Epson made an equally fast start to his round and also had three birdies in his first three holes on his way to a share of the lead.
Wingate Park’s Conradie started his round on the 10thand was in reasonable shape on three-under-par through 14 holes. But then he grabbed an eagle on the par-five sixth and a birdie three on the seventh in the late afternoon to join Broomhead and Epson at the top. – Michael Vlismas Media