Arnoldi hits the front at Mossel Bay
Ekurhuleni’s NJ Arnoldi blistered the back nine at Mossel Bay Golf Club to take a one shot lead in the first round of the Southern Cape Open on Friday.
The 22-year-old Nigel golfer reeled in five birdies on his way to a five-under-par 67 to edge Aaron Russell from Western Province into second.
Southern Cape favourites Jovan Rebula, the evergreen Stafie Barnard and Henk Geldenhuys lurk in the bus at three under alongside reigning Nomads SA Boys U-15 champion Herman Loubser and Johan Geldenhuys from Boland, Gauteng’s Jarred Miltz and Ian Snyman from the Western Province.
Chasing his second title this season, Arnoldi was off to a slow start at the Southern Cape course.
He interrupted a string of pars only interrupted once with a birdie at the second, but caught fire after the turn, though. The Prince’s Grant Amateur champion dipped to four under with back-to-back birdies at the 11th and 12th and another gain at the par-four 14th.
He negated a bogey at the 15th with a birdie at the next hole and finished his opening round with flair by knocking in a birdie at the par-four closing hole.
Russel also produced some vintage golf to put himself in line for a first title this season.
After starting started par, birdie, par, Russell reeled knocked in four birdie putts in a row from the 14th and cancelled a six at the par-five 17th with a birdie at the 18th.
Having completed the loop in five under, his putter went ice cold, but the Westlake golfer saved par on every hole until the ninth, where a bogey left him within striking distance of Arnoldi.
Arnoldi is well placed, but with 54 holes to play, the Southern Cape players are certain to challenge, especially the experienced Barnard, who returned a flawless 69.
TOP 20 FIRST ROUND SCORES
67 – NJ Arnoldi
68 – Aaron Russell
69 – Herman Loubser, Johan Germishuys, Jovan Rebula, Jarred Miltz, Stafie Barnard, Ian Snyman, Henk Geldenhuys
70 – Nicholas Mitchell, Breyten Meyer, Hendrik du Plessis, Jacques Cloete, Stefan Cronje, Altin van der Merwe
71 – Justin Meister, Jason Rossiter, Steven Janicki, Pierre de Villiers
72 – Paul Boshoff, Hendrikus Stoop, Luke Trocado, Jason Smith
(full leaderboard – https://tournament.handicaps.co.za/albport/golfclubtv.jsp?pg=65179434&ps=65179431)
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.