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Golf | SA

Mark Williams © Gallo Images

Williams makes his mark at Royal

Mark Williams took the inaugural Lion of Africa Cape Town Open by storm as he fired a magnificent 66 in blustery conditions at Royal Cape Golf Club on Thursday morning.

The score was good enough to take an early clubhouse lead of three shots, and Williams believed that his accuracy off the tee was the key to his success amidst the difficulties of dealing with the Cape Doctor.

“It was a great round. It wasn’t easy out there today, but I hit the driver and the two-iron straight and I kept the ball in play. For me, that was the most important thing. The rough is up at this course, so if you can get it in the fairway then you’ve got a lot of chances,” he said.

The 28-year-old began his round on the 10th hole, and launched an immediate assault on the par-72 layout as he carded three birdies in his first three holes. A bogey at the difficult par-four 14th hole set him back somewhat, but he bounced back with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes to post a 32 for his outward nine.

Two bogeys followed on his second nine, but Williams continued to attack the course and four further birdies ensured that the Bulawayo resident signed for well-constructed six-under round to take an early three shot lead.

“It was feeling good hey. It was a bit automatic today when you’re in the zone and things are going nicely. Towards the end I had a bit of a shaky three-putt, but I came back with a great birdie on the next hole. And that’s one thing I did today -- every time I made a mistake, I managed to bounce back with a birdie and that really keeps your round going,” he said.

For Williams, it has been a difficult year on the Sunshine Tour, and he was forced to pay his dues on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour. It proved a shrewd move for the big man however, as he stamped his authority on the Tour with a memorable victory in the Tour Championship at Copperleaf in September. But Williams took the victory in his stride and is just hoping to continue moving forward.

“It would be nice to do something on the main Tour. I haven’t been playing that well since then (the Tour Championship), but it’s getting there. It’s been a work in progress, and I’d just like to come out and continue playing nicely and put some scores on the board,” he said.

With the morning rounds still to be completed, Williams’s nearest challengers in the clubhouse are Alan McLean, Colin Nel, Toto Thimba and Tour-veteran Andre Cruse, who all shot 69.


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