Nick Gordon
2 minute read
7 Feb 2014
7:00 am

Walters in four-way tie

Nick Gordon

The par 71 West course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club lived up to its reputation as being the kindest 18 for the field at the Joburg Open as several players found the 6 586m layout to their liking yesterday.

FILE PICTURE: Justin Walters. Picture: Luke Walker/Sunshine Tour/Gallo Images.

Justin Walters led the charge for the South Africans on day one of the event as he fired a seven-under-par 64 to join Italian Edoardo Molinari and Scotsmen Alistair Forsyth and Craig Lee, who managed to tame the East course, at the top of the leaderboard.

“I haven’t really been getting off to good starts in my home country, especially in the bigger events, so this is a welcome change for me,” Walters said following his round, which included only one dropped shot on the par-four fourth.

“It is a bit of a mental challenge, because everyone says it’s the easier side. It is a bit easier, but that’s just because it plays a little bit shorter. If you don’t play well on either course then you’re not going to shoot a good score,” he added of the perception that the West layout was kinder.

Lee, meanwhile, was happy with his effort on the East course as he signed for a round of 65 that included eight birdies and a single bogey.

“It’s really hard to figure out where you are in the field with two golf courses, and with the East being slightly tougher I feel like I’m in a good position,” Lee said.

The leaders are being chased by a group of eight players who managed to end the day one shot back at six-under-par with Hennie Otto, Danie van Tonder, Graham van der Merwe and George Coetzee the South Africans in the bunch.

There is a group of 12 players a shot back at five-under with defending champion Richard Sterne in the bunch after he managed a round of 67 on the East layout.

Sterne got his day off to a flyer with an eagle on the first hole before three straight birdies on the front nine and another on the back kept his score down.