JC Ritchie in good start

HARARE - Last year’s champion JC Ritchie has began the defence of his Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open Golf Tournament title with a solid six-under par 66 in yesterday’s opening round of the Sunshine Tour-sanctioned event.

Martin Rowher, Vaughn Groenewald and Andrew van der Knaap are in second place after firing an opening round five-under 67.

Ritchie could have signed off for a first round 65 if he had not shot a bogey at the par four number 13 which would have given him some breathing space with the chasing pack.

“I always love coming back here. This feels like it’s my home club; putting on these greens and the lovely conditions of this golf course,” Ritchie said after his opening round.

“Today, I have just started with a stunning round; the greens are so good so I was putting the ball nicely, I’m really happy with what I got.”

Although he is the defending champion, the South African feels he has handled the pressure quiet well after the first 18 holes.

“Definitely, I love the greens and I feel like I know the golf course like the back of my hand so I’m just going to go out there and have some fun,” he said.

“I’m not really focussing on defending but just finish my next 54 holes. If I do finish the way I want to then the trophy will go where it needs to.

“I try and just focus on my round of goal and every shot that I need to make then try not to worry about the rest of it.”

In third place is Trevor Fisher Jr, who is tied on four-under 68 together with Jonathan Agren and Alex Haindl.  

“I shot four-under today and the course is a little bit difficult. I just need to keep it in the fairways, the rough has gone up so need to be really solid out there,” Fisher Jr said.

“It was a right start for me and I’m happy with the four-under. Any time you shoot under par is a good result; we have got three more days and I just have to see what we can do.

“If we can shoot four-under every round then we can have a chance at the end of the week.”

The best placed Zimbabweans after the first 18 holes are Bruce McDonald on two-under 70 while Mark Williams also fared well with a notable one-under 71.

Ryan Cairns and Robson Chinoi are on level par.

“I birdied the last two holes of the day to finish at level par so I’m absolutely happy with the way it finished up because it was not playing easy out there in the morning,” Cairns said after his round.

“I always love playing this course, even when I’m not playing great, it always a good treat to be out here. It’s great to have all the South African guys out here and they have been complimentary about our home course.

“The odds are bit against us but we have got a few local guys out there and I think there is going to be a couple of Zimbos up there come Sunday.”

The other locals who have a chance of making the cut today are Trainos Muradzikwa, Lyford Yadyo, Kayyam Mandhu, Mohammed Mandhu and Peter Banda, who are all on one over 73.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.