Birdie blitz Hugo takes Wild Coast lead

Cape Town - Jean Hugo raced to a blemish-free 10-under-par 60 opening round of this season’s Sun Wild Coast Sun Challenge and holds a one-stroke lead going into day two in Port Edward.

Getting out early in the morning and starting off the 10th tee, the veteran wasted no time in getting to work. He went birdie, par and eagle in his first three holes, and then two holes later made another birdie before making further gains on his eighth hole – the 17th of the golf course – as he turned in 30 and bogey-free.

As if that back nine five-under-par was not brilliant enough, Hugo then went on a four-birdie run after the turn and again on his 16th hole, another birdie found its way onto his card for a perfect start to this week.

“I had no real expectations to be honest,” said Hugo after his solid start. “I started well, made a big putt on 10 which probably set the tone. Then I made an eagle on 12; quickly three-under after three and kept things going. I think I missed one green today. It was close to a perfect round; 28 putts, you know, is not something scary like 23 or 24 putts.

“All in all, I think it’s a really good round and tee to green, I was solid. I was five-under after nine holes and then I birdied the first four on the back nine, and being a par-70, we always knew it was on the cards.”

With the possibility of a 59 quite real for Hugo going down the stretch, he had to call on his experience to keep himself focused and he did just that on Wednesday.

“My playing partners were saying ‘you’ve got this for 59’”, Hugo reveals, “and you obviously think about it. I had a good putt on the last hole but it just lipped out and didn’t make the turn. It would have been very special, you know, the 59. Somehow the 60 doesn’t feel that great but it was actually a good score. It could have been better but also, it could have been worse so I’m very satisfied.”

Behind Hugo lurks a resurgent Callum Mowat who also signed for an untainted round, but his was a nine-under 61. Also teeing off the 10th hole, Mowat picked up five birdies on that nine and four more on the homeward stretch.

He credits his opening-round score to a change of clubs and that decision paid dividends on Wednesday in Port Edward.

“I’m very pleased because lately these types of greens have not been kind to me,” said the Modderfontein Golf Club member. “It’s been a struggle but it was nice to come out and play well. I changed my irons recently; went back to my old irons and it just proved that it’s not always a great decision to go on to the new stuff.

“I was hitting a lot of greens and playing to my strengths. So, tomorrow I’m just going to do the same things; take it easy and just play my normal game.”

Scores:

60 - Jean Hugo

61 - Callum Mowat

63 - Jaco Ahlers

64 - Hennie du Plessis, Franklin Manchest, Lyle Rowe

65 - JC Ritchie, Neil Schietekat, Ruan de Smidt, Roberto Lupini, Teaghan Gauche

66 - Darin de Smidt, Yubin Jung, Dylan Naidoo

67 - Divan van den Heever, Luke Jerling, Chris Swanepoel, CJ du Plessis, Chris Cannon, Jacques Blaauw

68 - Greg Snow, Matthew Rushton, Clinton Grobler, MJ Viljoen, Titch Moore, Scott Campbell, Christiaan Basson, Keenan Davidse, Jaco Prinsloo, DK Kim, Dayne Moore, Estiaan Conradie, Merrick Bremner, Steve Surry, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Daniel van Tonder, Alex Haindl, Ruan Huysamen

69 - Francois van Vuuren, Arno Pretorius, Toto Thimba, Martin Rohwer, Oliver Bekker, Michael Palmer, Ruan Korb, Theunis Bezuidenhout, Louis Albertse, Jonathan Agren, Rhys West, Ockie Strydom, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Wallie Coetsee, David McIntyre

70 - Jason Diab, Doug McGuigan, Garth Mulroy, Wynand Dingle, Hennie Otto, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Ruan Conradie, Breyten Meyer, Fredrik From, Aubrey Beckley

71 - Ruan Botha, Anton Haig, Colin Nel, Andre De Decker, Deon Germishuys, Thanda Mavundla, Luke Brown, Altaaf Bux, Jonathan Waschefort, Juran Dreyer, Daniel Greene, Andrew van der Knaap, Jake Redman, Andre Nel, Jean-Paul Strydom, Duane Keun

72 - Adriel Poonan, Ryan Cairns, Hayden Griffiths, Combrinck Smit, Kyle McClatchie, Herman Loubser, Andrew Odoh, Caylum Boon

73 - Marco de Beer, Jared Harvey, Ryan O'Neill, Hendrikus Stoop, Jade Buitendag, Derick Petersen, Heinrich Bruiners, Jacques P de Villiers

74 - Andrew Curlewis, Luke Mayo, Pieter Moolman, Lwazi Gqira

75 - Wayne Stroebel, Nicholaus Frade, Philip Geerts, Peetie van der Merwe, Kyle Barker

76 - Dylan Mostert, Paul Boshoff, James Hart du Preez

77 - Makhetha Mazibuko

78 - Joe Nawanga, CJ Levey

79 - Tyrone Ryan, Christopher Van der Merwe

DSQ - Eugene Marugi

- Sunshine Tour