Jake joins the fray
Jake Roos threw his hat into the ring with a first-round 66 at Royal Swazi Golf Club, his six-under-par tally putting him within a stroke of the Lombard Insurance Classic lead.
“It’s nice to finish with a bit of momentum, and nice to get off to a good start. I’m looking to build on that for the rest of the week,” he said.
Eagles at the fifth and seventh pushed Roos into contention, and by the close of day one he shared third with Albert Pistorius and PH McIntyre, one stroke shy of leaders Jean Hugo and Andrew Georgiou.
“I’ve always seemed to play nicely at Swazi,” said Roos. “I like the course and I felt comfortable out there today. I struggled a little bit with the lines on my first nine, but I made some nice putts on my second, so I’m happy.”
The 31-year-old began on the back nine, and after a quiet first loop turned at one-under. On the front stretch he got going with a birdie at the first before his two eagles catapulted him into a share of third.
“It was a nice start,” said Roos. “I felt a little dodgy before the round, but as I got into it things got progressively better. It was a good nine for me, my second nine. For both of the eagles I hit good approach shots, a four iron and then a six iron, and I was very happy with those.”
McIntyre also made an eagle at the seventh, but a solid back stretch really boosted him up the leaderboard. He made five birdies over the second nine, securing his share of third.
“I can’t ask for more,” he said. “I enjoyed it, made good putts and played well. I had a bit of a dodgy start, but it came out nicely.
“I’ve been working hard over the last few weeks with Hendrik Buhrmann, and things are coming together, so I’m starting to enjoy the game even more.”
The Heidelberg Golf Club professional was focused on a good result, and his opening 66 formed the perfect foundation for a successful tournament.
“I didn’t have a good start to the year, and I need to finish well for the end of the year. We always go for the win, but I must just be patient and wait for the right shots – that’s it,” he said.
For Pistorius it was a case of keeping the numbers off the card, and he made his way round without a drop. Three birdies on either side of the turn earned him his share of third.
Roos, having taken victory just three months ago, knows what to expect over the final rounds, and added: “I’m going to try and give myself a lot of opportunities – I think it’s going to be a low scoring week. Put some good rounds in there and see what happens. It’s definitely the type of week where you need to be aggressive and make a lot of birdies to stay up there. I’ll try to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”