Ford in driving seat at Glacier SA Amateur

Adrian Ford leader of the Glacier SA Amateur qualifying after round 1 DURBAN (2 March 2008) – Western Province’s Adrian Ford signed for a course record five under par 67 to lead the first round of the 36-hole qualifier for the Glacier SA Amateur Golf Championship at Royal Durban Golf Club on Sunday.

Ford, who is a member of the Ernie Els Foundation and is ranked third in the country, overcame a poor start and gusting winds to post a round of seven birdies, an eagle and two double bogeys on the new Royal Durban layout. He leads by two strokes over Port Elizabeth’s Divan du Piesanie, Kuilsriver’s Hendrik van den Berg and Pretoria’s Derik Ferreira.

Welshman Craig Evans, the Welsh amateur champion in 1994, and North West’s Alpheus Kelapile both opened with rounds of 70.

Ford teed off at the 10th and was two over through three holes after a double bogey at the par-four 12th.

But he found his rhythm and picked up five shots in five holes when he eagled the par-five 14th, parred the 15th and then birdied holes 16, 17 and 18. He climbed to six under with three holes to come, but then double-bogeyed the seventh.

But he closed with a birdie at the short par-four ninth, his last hole, when he hit a three wood off the tee and to within five feet of the hole, from where he two-putted.

“I had a shaky start and then started to hit my irons really well. I also read the greens well, which I don’t normally do on Durban greens,” said Ford, who recently finished 37th playing with the professionals in the Vodacom Championship on the Sunshine Tour.

A brisk south-westerly wind buffeted the course in the morning, with 21-year-old Du Piesanie posting the clubhouse target of 69 before Ford overtook this as the wind died down in the afternoon.

The wind combined with the punishing rough made for a stern test on the opening day of the country’s most prestigious amateur tournament.

“You have to have respect for this course with this kind of rough,” said Van Den Berg, who enjoyed a brief spell as a professional before returning to the amateur game.

Dylan Frittelli, the number one amateur in the country, was satisfied with his 75 in the conditions.

“It’s not a great score but I’m happy with that.”

And Jacques Blaauw, winner of the SA Amateur Stroke Play Championship last month, posted a 77.

“It was tough out there. I just kept missing greens and the rough is punishing,” said Blaauw.

Welshman Nigel Edwards, the 2006 SA Amateur champion and currently ranked 27th in the world, signed for a first round of 74.

Germany leads in the International Teams Event, which features eight countries represented by two players each and which ran concurrently with the first round of the qualifier.

Berlin teenager Max Fischer’s 71 and the 72 of teammate Marius Junker puts them on 143, one clear of the Welsh duo of Edwards and Evans. South Africa, represented by Frittelli and Blaauw, are currently fourth on 152.

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