Keith taming the Cape winds
Having already wrapped up his European Tour card for the third year in succession, Keith Horne came into this week’s Lion of Africa Cape Town Open under little stress and looked to get his summer season off to a positive start. Yesterday he followed an opening round of 71 with a highly impressive 68 to elevate him into a share of fourth.
For a man whose game has perhaps not reached the heights he’d hoped for in the second half of the year, the four-under round in the wind on Friday afternoon had the hallmarks of a player on the rise.
“The game is feeling okay, certainly better than the last couple of weeks. The putting has been much better too, so all round I feel a lot more comfortable out there,” he said.
Incessant winds have had the better of many of the professionals in the event thus far, but the man who grew up in Kwa-Zulu Natal is no stranger to such adversities and has dealt with the Cape Doctor superbly.
“I’ve been living in Joburg for 11 years now, so you do forget how to play in the wind a little bit. But yes, it does stay with you. I’m probably not as good a wind player as I used to be, but it does come back to you after a few days,” Horne said.
After cutting it fine last season to keep his European Tour card, Horne was in fine form at the beginning of 2012. A win at the Telkom PGA kick-started his season, and consistent performances in the first half of the year in Europe meant he didn’t have to go through the anxieties he endured in 2011 to retain his card.
“I got off to better start and I secured my card earlier in the year. Last season I dragged my rotting carcass over the finish line in the final tournament of the year. This year was a lot easier, but I’ve been disappointed with my form in the second half of this year.
“I’ve been playing well, but I just haven’t been putting good tournaments together. It would have been nice to make it to Dubai, but overall, a satisfactory year for me,” he said.
Mark Williams has stolen the headlines at Royal Cape this week as he raced to 11-under par for the event, and enjoyed a five-shot lead overnight. But Horne, who lies six behind on five-under, believes it is a long way from being over.
“When there’s only one person that is ahead of everybody else - regardless of who he is or whether he’s experienced or not- there is always a chance that he can be caught. If there are three of four guys that are way ahead, then it’s much harder because you know at least one will see it through.
“There’s a lot of golf to be played still, and today is going to be very tough in this wind so you never know what’s going to happen,” the 41 year-old said.
In blustery conditions in the Cape, the tournament is very much up for grabs and Saturday promises to provide intriguing entertainment. Live coverage of the Cape Town Open is available on Supersport for the weekend rounds, while those in the Mother City can watch the action for a charitable donation of R10 per ticket.