Laurie canters to Di-Data lead
England’s Laurie Canter finished eagle-birdie in the first round of the Dimension Data Pro-Am on Thursday on his way to an eight-under-par 64 on the Outeniqua course at Fancourt Hotel and Golf Estate in George.
That gave him a one-stroke edge over Jaco Ahlers, who also played his round on Outeniqua in the tournament that has the players playing one round on each of Outeniqua, Montagu and The Links ahead of the cut at 54 holes, after which the final round is contested over Montagu.
Le Roux Ferreira and Wallie Coetsee shot the best score on Montagu, their six-under there matching those of Anthony Michael and Doug McGuigan on the par-73 Links.
“The eagle-birdie finish was a little bit of a cherry on top of a good day,” said Canter. “I hit driver up 17, took it a little right of the flag and holed a nice putt. Then on 18 I hit a good wedge shot pretty close and holed the putt – a nice way to finish, for sure.”
In fact, in addition to that eagle, Canter made four birdies on his homeward nine to close out that nine in 30 strokes.
It was especially sweet because it was his best tournament round on the allegedly ‘easy’ Outeniqua, the course on which everybody expects to score well.
“This is my fourth time playing the tournament, and I’ve never actually broken par on Outeniqua,” he said. “I’ve always played a little better on Montagu, so I wanted to get after it today. But I got off to a bit of a slow start. I got it going towards the end of the front nine and I’m obviously delighted to shoot 64.
“When you play on these three different courses like this you can get a bit caught up with people expecting you to go low on Outeniqua. I’m playing The Links next, and I’m just going to try and play my best each day and see where I end up going into Sunday when everyone’s on the same course and it’s a little easier to judge.”
Ahlers made eight birdies and a bogey in his 65. “I really played solid from tee to green,” he said. “I made a few putts. It’s a nice way to start the event.”
Ferreira had a bogey-free round for his 66 on Montagu, with an eagle and four birdies. “I made a couple of good up-and-downs to start off,” he said. “Those could have gone either way, so it was good to get those right.”
For the leader, it all comes down to taking advantage of his good start.
“The overnight rain didn’t really affect the course, I feel it has been playing really soft this year anyway – especially The Links, which is much softer than in previous years, so I guess we’ll see what happens there tomorrow,” he said. “I think you’ve just got to be positive, take a few pins on and the score is going to be good.”