Marc Cayeux's emotional return

HARARE - Zimbabwean golfer Marc Cayeux could not contain his emotions after firing a first round two-under-par 70 during the opening round of the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open here yesterday.

South Africans Louis de Jager and Mark Murless share a clubhouse lead of seven-under-par 65 after the first 18 holes but the day’s major highlight was Cayeux’s determination in the course despite the numerous setbacks he has experienced in the last few years.

It was Cayeux’s first appearance on the Sunshine Tour after a fatal head-on collision with a police truck along the Harare-Beitbridge highway back in 2010 which claimed the life of the police officer and left the golfer needing 27 operations to save his shattered legs.

The 38-year-old has been under-going extensive physiotherapy in the last five years and yesterday marked his first step on the road back to life as a professional golfer.

“It’s been five-and-a-half years of trying to get to this sort of level. It was quite nerve-racking at the first tee shot,” Cayeux told reporters after his opening round.

“Luckily, I found the middle of the club face; hit it on the green and I three-putted. I kind of said to myself this bogey will get rid of the nerves; who cares? There are another 17 holes where we can try to make birdies.”

Cayeux was visibly overwhelmed by the situation and even broke down.

“Just going through the emotions of thinking of all the operations . . . ,” a teary-eyed Cayeux said.

The Zimbabwean was also filled with uncontrollable emotion by the support he has received from his peers on the Sunshine Tour during his trying times.

“Looks it’s great to see them encouraging me, but I believe these guys are at a high level of golf. It’s good to see my friends again but I’m here to compete against them,” he said.

“This is a gentlemen’s game they are going to encourage you to get back so there is a lot more hard work ahead.

“I’m looking forward to the next eight months of working hard in the gym, getting fit and getting stronger; hopefully play more rounds of golf.”

Cayeux could have been higher on the leaderboard had he not double bogeyed number 16 but he was generally impressed by his performance.

“I turned one-under. I said to myself that the back nine is the tough nine and I just tried to play percentage golf. A couple of putts dropped, I hit it steadily and straight; not long,” he said.

“And then on 16, I approached it as an automatic three-shot par-five. I didn’t commit to it and tried to get too greedy on the lay-up. I tried to recover from the mistake but it just didn’t quite happen.

“I tried to finish well, but if you’d said before the round that I could have a 70, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.”     

Cayuex added: “I’m going to take as much going forward. My goal is to make the cut and play on the weekend. I have to play another round; the second round tomorrow (today) so to me for what I have gone through, I’m just happy to be here.”

Rising Zimbabwean amateur David Amm, who last week won the Manicaland Junior Championships and the Leopard Rock cup, also ended the first round on two-under 70.

“I played very well. I’m happy with how I played; I had a good start. I made a birdie on the second and the next four holes, I made some really good pars which gave me some good momentum going in,” he said.

“It was a good round but it could have been better. I got a lot of good breaks so I can’t complain.”   

Another Zimbabwean also to close the day on two-under 70 was Mark Williams.

The only other locals to finish the opening round in the red were Ryan Cairns and Scott Vincent, who are both on one-under.

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chastuchus - 15 April 2016

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