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Venter on fire at WP Stroke Play

19 Apr 2016

Albert Venter; credit Ernest Blignault.

Gauteng North’s Albert Venter took advantage of tranquil conditions in the first round of the Western Province Stroke Play to race to a two shot lead at Clovelly Country Club in the Silvermine Valley close to Fish Hoek on Monday.

The 20-year-old from Centurion Country Club was in imperious form as he reeled in 10 birdies on his way to a nine-under-par 63.

Venter opened up a two shot lead over Danie van Niekerk from Lichtenburg Golf Club in the North West Province and finished three shots clear of local favourite Gerlou Roux and Ekurhuleni’s Kyle McClatchie.

Southern Cape pair Jade Buitendag and Brandon Cloete finished a further shot adrift.

Scores were generally lower than expected at the 5,890 metre layout as the wind was calmer than it often is this time of year in the Western Cape and nearly 40 players managed to break par in the first round.

Venter came into the event on the back of a third place finish in the Eastern Province/Border Stroke Play Championship and the HPC Golf Academy player got off to a fast start with a pair of birdies at the second and third holes.

The reigning Africa Amateur Stroke Play champion added a third gain at the par five fifth and a hat-trick of birdies at seven, eight and nine saw him start the back nine at six under. He bookended a bogey at 11 with birdies and notched two more gains at 16 and 18.

“There was barely a breeze when we teed off,” Venter said.

“The conditions were perfect for low scoring, but I surprised that more guys didn’t hit the low 60s. The course is tree-lined, so accuracy is key at this layout. You need to keep it play to go low, so I focused on hitting fairways and greens and it paid off for me, especially on the front nine.

“The wind started to push quite a bit after I turned and we had about a one club wind to deal with on the back nine. I three-putted 11 for my only bogey, but overall, the back nine was solid. I hit my irons really well. I had three tap-in birdies and the rest of the birdie putts were all pretty short.

“The wind is expected to show up early on Tuesday, so I don’t expect such low scores today.”

FIRST ROUND SCORES (TOP 20)
63 Albert Venter
65 Danie van Niekerk
66 Gerlou Roux; Kyle McClatchie
67 Jade Buitendag; Brandon Cloete
68 Marcus Smal; Dylan Naidoo; Neswill Croy; Quintin Wilsnach
69 Jason Rossiter; Cameron Johnston; Luke Trocado; Kyle Barker; Darin de Smidt; Marco Steyn
70 Chris Wicks; Angus Ellis-Cole; Andre Nel; Elton James; Jovan Rebula; Cole Cruickshank; Paul Boshoff; James du Preez

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

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