Trio share control at SA Mid-Amateur

Former champion Neil Homann claimed a share of the three-way tie atop a tightly packed leaderboard in the first round of the Volvo South African Mid-Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Ruimsig Country Club on Tuesday.

The 2012 champion from Wanderers recovered well from a bumpy start to reel in three birdies after the turn and set the early target at two-under-par 70.

Homann was joined by former top ranked mid-amateur Graeme Watson from Ebotse Golf and Country Estate and Modderfontein’s Steve Williams.

Watson offset three bogeys with five birdies, while Williams drained eagle putts at the par-four third and par-five 18th holes for his 70.

The trio lead by one from local golfer, Johan Nel, and are two shots ahead of five players tied at even-par, including defending champion Greg Sheard from the Western Province.

As the South African Golf Association’s assistant executive director, the former professional has been flat out working on logistical details, organising and running amateur tournaments since January and competitive golf has been low on his list of priorities this season.

Given the limited window of opportunity he had to prepare for the championship, Homann was understandably pleased to be in contention.

“I took some time off after the Africa Zone VI Golf Tournament in April and during the break, I competed in the Western Province Amateur at the Milnerton Links,”’ he said.

“It was great to get some course time, because it highlighted the things that needed urgent attention.

“I spent a lot of time on the driving range this past week and I hit a lot of balls. I played a practice round on Sunday and that gave me a good feel ahead of this week’s championship.”

Homann bogeyed the second, seventh and 11th, but managed to cancel the mistakes with birdies at the fourth, ninth and 13th. Birdies at the 15th and 18th sealed his position at the top.

Homann had two three-putts, but also boxed two 20-footers to save par; yet the former professional felt he could have gone lower.

“I hit the ball well all day, but I left a few out there,” he said.

“I had quite a few chances inside eight feet, but overall, I’m glad to be in a competitive position early in the tournament.”

Pre-tournament favourites Gerlou Roux from Western Province and recent back-to-back champion Josef Fourie from Free State opened with rounds of 73 and 78 respectively.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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