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Firethorn greens not as bad as they look, say players

FILE - The first hole at Randpark’s Firethorn course where the Joburg Open is taking place. Photo: @Sunshine_Tour via Twitter

FILE - The first hole at Randpark’s Firethorn course where the Joburg Open is taking place. Photo: @Sunshine_Tour via Twitter

Published Nov 26, 2021

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Johannesburg — Randpark has come under some strong criticism from outside sources for the perceived state of Firethorn’s greens for the Joburg Open after they were accidently and inadvertently burnt a few weeks ago. The bare, brown patches don’t look good, especially when viewed on television – such a pity as during the weeks leading up to the tournament they were lovely and green all round and especially easy on the eye.

But ask the players and they view things differently from the detractors. “The greens may not look that good with all those brown patches, but they’re still running true,” said Thriston Lawrence who blitzed the course with a morning six-under-par 65 in Friday’s second round to take the clubhouse lead on 12-under.

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Fellow South African Zander Lombard, who matched his 67 on day one with the same number Friday, agreed: “They roll a lot better than what meets the eye,” he said. “And they’re getting better every day. On Monday and Tuesday they were horrible but Wednesday was better and today (Friday) was better than yesterday (Thursday). The rain has helped and I think the greens staff are doing a really good job making improvements each day. And just because there are brown patches it doesn’t mean there is’nt grass on those patches. There is grass. I think this weekend the greens will be looking even better.”

Hennie du Plessis, who followed up an opening 67 with a 70 Friday, also had no complaints: “The roll was good, and also the speed,” he said.

Spain’s Angel Hidalgo clearly had no problems with the greens running unevenly in Thursday’s first round as he needed only 24 putts in the 18 holes to take a share of the first round lead on 65.

IOL Sport

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