Johannesburg — Oliver Bekker and Neil Schietekat both carded rounds of seven-under 65 to share the lead in the first round of the SA Open at Gary Player Country Club, at Sun City, on Thursday.
Bekker was the best of the morning field, while Schietekat was one of the late finishers. Interestingly, Bekker and Schietekat are separated by just one position in the world rankings. Bekker is 259th in the world, and Schietekat is one position ahead of his compatriot.
Bekker’s round featured an eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys in the Sunshine Tour event. Schietekat, meanwhile, reeled off an eagle, six birdies and a bogey to later match the lowest round of the day.
In a share of third are the pair of Bryce Easton and Lyle Rowe on six-under 66. The trio of Hennie du Plessis, Albert Venter and Heinrich Bruiners were tied on five-under 67.
The top international player on the leaderboard was England’s Chris Cannon in a tie for eighth on four-under 68.
Defending champion Christiaan Bezuidenhout battled a cold putter on his way to an opening two-under 70 in a share of 21st. Also tied on two-under was Dylan Frittelli.
The SA Open was last week scrapped of its DP World Tour (formerly European Tour) co-sanctioned status, after the Rainbow Nation was hit with a travel ban due to the discovery of the new Omicron Covid-19 variant by local scientists.
The Alfred Dunhill at Leopard Creek scheduled to be held next week, was scrapped altogether because of the travel ban.
African News Agency (ANA)