Konzani in command at Humewood
In-form David Konzani took full advantage of the gentle conditions at Humewood Golf Club to make a brilliant start in the Indwe Risk Services SA Senior Amateur Stroke Play Championship on Tuesday.
The 55-year-old Southern Cape Senior Open champion used his home course advantage to stockpile half-a-dozen birdies on the way to an opening five-under-par 67.
Konzani leads by two shots from former South African tennis ace Kevin Curren from Durban Country Club and Wingate Park’s Adrian Kriel, while AW Glover from Port Elizabeth Golf Club finished a further shot adrift.
Alan Fraser from Country Club Johannesburg, Norman Phillips from East London and Wingate Park’s Gorden Wessels are locked into fifth with Manie Daniels from Walmer Golf Club, who aced the par-three 14th to join the bus at one under.
Defending champion Mellette Hendrikse finished in a four-way tie for ninth at even-par 72.
Konzani celebrated a hard-fought for promotion in the B-Section of the South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial Championship with the Eastern Province team on Friday, but the local favourite was all business during Monday’s practice round.
“This tournament is like a major to me,” Konzani said.
“It’s the one I’ve been chasing since I joined the senior circuit five years ago and this week is probably my best chance to win it, so I’m going all out.”
The country’s number two ranked senior immediately issued a warning to his fellow competitors, notching birdies at six, seven, 12, 14, 15 and 17 before he spoiled a flawless run with a bogey at closing hole.
“Unfortunately I short-sided myself with my tee shot at 18,” he said.
“The pin was right in front and I should have hit a three-wood. I took a driver instead and I finished too close to the green. I had nothing to work with, so I ended up three-putting for bogey. Not the way I wanted to finish, but it’s just one hole.
“There is still 54 holes of this championship left, so it’s too early to start counting chickens, but I’m exactly where I hoped to be.”
Kriel had 10 straight pars before dipping into red figures with a birdie at 11, and added a brace of gains at 16 and 17 to set the early target.
“It was nice to be the leader in the clubhouse for a while there, but I think we were all waiting to see how David would finish,” said the 60-year-old Gauteng North senior.
“He was burning up the course, but I guess if there was a day to do it, it was today. The course is in fantastic condition and the greens are rolling superbly. They set up the course for strong wind, but it never showed show up.
“I had to battle the ball into the hole for a few pars and I made a huge putt at 17 for the birdie after I hit it about 15 foot past the hole. I played solidly, but I worked really hard on my low shots before we came here, so I’m ready for the wind to show up.”
Curren produced a hat-trick of birdies on the closing stretch and was equally pleased to be in an attacking position.
“It’s really great to in this position early on, because you don’t know what will happen when the wind starts to blow,” said the 57-year-old KwaZulu-Natal golfer.
“There wasn’t much wind, but still, I couldn’t get on the greens in two at any of the par-fives. They took a lot of rain on board here at Humewood in the last week, so the ball doesn’t run, but the course is in superb condition and we couldn’t have asked for better greens.”
FIRST ROUND SCORES (top 10)
67 David Konzani
69 Kevin Curren; Adrian Kriel
70 A W Glover
71 Alan Fraser; Manie Daniels; Norman Phillips; Gordon Wessels
72 Mellette Hendrikse; Morgan Phillips; Anton Bezuidenhout; Brian Mampies
73 Tim Hewan; Mzuyanda Zingela; Wilhelm de Kock; Schalk Naude
To view the full first round scores and follow live scoring, click HERE
Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.