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Du Plessis in pursuit of Kaminski at Fancourt

01 Jul 2013

Polokwane's Hennie du Plessis is two shots off the pace after round one of the Nomads Order of Merit event at Fancourt (credit Deon Smit / Immanuel Photography)

Rupert Kaminski’s affinity for coastal courses helped him cruise into pole position in the first round of the Nomads Order of Merit Tournament on Monday, but the Parkview golfer should be wary of Polokwane’s Hennie du Plessis, nipping at his heels at Fancourt.

Kaminski navigated the par-72 layout of the Gary Player-designed Outeniqua course in a flawless four-under-par 68, but Du Plessis - the runner-up in last week’s Nomads SA Boys U-17 Championship - lurks just two shots off the pace.

The Mpumalanga golfer is tied for second with Andre van Heerden from Walker Park and Bellville’s Altin van der Merwe, another contender at Mount Edgecombe last week.

Donovan Tam from Craddock, Howick’s MM Mitchell and East London’s Allen Lones share fifth spot on one under, while 2013 Nomads SA Boys U-19 champion, Zander Gous from Piet Retief is in the bus at even-par with Cameron Moralee from Kingswood, Potchefstroom’s Stephen Allen, Armand Grobbelaar from Devonvale, Steenberg’s Noel Anderson and Sean Bradley, who plays out of Royal Cape.

Reigning Sanlam SA Open champion Thriston Lawrence could have been within three shots of the leader, however, the 16-year-old called a two-shot penalty on himself at the second hole after he couldn’t make a proper swing at his ball.

The resulting nine on the par-five saw the Nelspruit golfer turn in four over par, a flawless back nine with a pair of birdies at the closing holes ensured that Lawrence cannot be discounted over the next two rounds at Outeniqua and The Links.

Kaminski’s strong start at one of South Africa’s top championship venues follows just two weeks after he celebrated a four shot victory with his team at the Retief Goosen SA High School Championship at the Fish River Sun Country Club.

The KES scholar also led the individual scoring in the first round and tied for second on the final leaderboard, three shots behind George golfer, Jovan Rebula.

The Nomads SA Boys U-17 champion came into the Nomads coastal event hunting back-to-back victories and was a firm favourite, especially after he clinched The Links Trophy in a three-man play-off on Sunday.

However, the 15-year-old George golfer’s form deserted him on the challenging Outeniqua layout. Rebula signed for a five over 77 with a double bogey and four dropped shots against a lone birdie and will have to fight his way into contention from a tie for 43rd.

It is certainly not surprising that nearly 80 of the country’s top juniors turned up for the Nomads Order of Merit at Fancourt.

Home to the Sunshine Tour’s annual Dimension Data Pro-Am, the Garden Route’s most popular golf stop has hosted a slew of top championships, including the Presidents Cup, the Womens World Cup, the SA Open and countless top amateur events.

Thanks to the Nomads and Fancourt’s commitment to support and grow junior golf, the 54-hole event will be played on all three courses and give the juniors the chance to test themselves on three of the country’s top rated courses.

It will certainly be an experience that rates with the best of his career for Nicholas Frade, who was presented with a certificate after scoring the tournament’s first ace.

Coming off a bogey at the third, the Zwartkops golfer hit a well-timed eight-iron at the par-three fourth and watched as the ball pitched against the slope to the right of the pin and rolled slowly, but perfectly into the hole.

Click HERE to follow live scoring and HERE for the second round draw.

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