Levy sets the early pace at SA Amateur Stroke Play

Alexander Levy of France stamped his authority at the South African Amateur Stroke Play Championship with an opening seven-under-par 65 at Mount Edgecombe.

He leads by two from South Africa’s top golfer, Danie van Tonder, and is three clear of countryman Edouard Espana and Wesley Baptiste, who plays out of Prince’s Grant.

Levy, a member of France’s winning Eisenhower Trophy team last year, looked completely at ease on foreign soil. The Frenchman took advantage of a well-laid plan to string together eight birdies against a lone drop in his loops of 32 and 33.

“I stuck to my game plan,” explained Levy. “I had a strategy for every hole and played very well with the wind. My pitches went exactly where I wanted them to go. I attacked only when it would work and played safe where I needed to. It’s a good start to the tournament.”

Levy was concerned about playing the coarser coastal greens but his putter also behaved exceptionally well.

“I had just one two-putt all day,” he said. “The short putts fell and I also holed a few long ones.” One of those was a 30-footer for birdie at the 16th. “No, that one was just luck,” he joked.

Van Tonder turned in five-under but dropped twice on the back nine.

“I took a couple of wrong options and it went against me,” he said. “Overall I was satisfied with how I played, but I need to eliminate the mistakes. The difference between Alexander and I was that he executed well and I made some mistakes.”

Sixteen players in the morning field heading the leaderboard were able to break par, including Mount Edgecombe’s own Jared Harvey.

The 22-year-old carded an opening 69 to tie for fifth alongside former SA Amateur Match Play champion Ryan Dreyer, Scotland’s Scott Gibson and South Africa’s number two golfer, Brandon Stone.

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