The first day was played out on a stunning day on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast, with only a bit of a breeze for the competitive field to worry about. This year’s format change has added much intrigue to what is already a popular event, and there were some intriguing fourball combinations sent out by captains Jabu Mabuza (Telkom) and Imtiaz Patel (SuperSport).
New sponsors Telkom, obviously keen to make an early impression, have vaulted into a hearty first-day lead, with plenty of blue on the scoreboard, ensuring that they lead 61.5 to 46.5.
Mabuza was quick to point out that his charges were not present merely to make up the numbers but to pick up the big prize, and Patel and company will have to pull out the “Burgle of Ballito” to get the bragging rights out of this one today.
The opening round saw the two nines split into greensomes (alternate shots) and foursomes for the team event, as well the Betterball and individual Stableford being factored in for the field of sports stars, business and political leaders, and an assortment of entertainers.
The individual component is over 27 holes, due to the greensomes, and there were some eyebrows raised at the end of the first day, as SuperSport presenter Neil Andrews led the individual competition with a net score of one under par.
“I haven’t played a round of golf this year. I didn’t even practise, because I didn’t want to waste any of the six good shots I still have in the bag,” the popular presenter quipped.
Andrews has a host of competitors hot on his back, including World Cup-winning flyhalf Butch James, who is one of three players just a shot off the pace.
In the Betterball competition, Gerald Dros and Tim Abbott from BMW combined well to take the driving seat, though they will also have to keep an eye on the competition.
The duo of Oscar Chalupsky, a renowned fox on the greens, and the reliable Sam Hackner lie in second place, and will push them all the way down the stretch.
Chalupsky, firing a warning, putted out from off the green on the 18th hole, and will be looking to pick up where he left off this morning.
As Chalupsky and Hackner also form part of the SuperSport Team, skipper Patel may get them out early, to get early points.
More importantly, hundreds of thousands of rand were raised at last night’s gala dinner, pushing the event’s 12-year contribution to charity beyond R21 million.
DAY ONE SCORES
INDIVIDUAL STABLEFORD COMPETITION
Neil Andrews 35
Butch James 34
BETTERBALL COMPETITION (AFTER NINE HOLES)
Gerald Dros/Tim Abbott -1
Oscar Chalupsky/Sam Hackner +1
OVERALL TEAM COMPETITION
Team Telkom 61.5, Team SuperSport 46.5.
Original source: Much intrigue at charity shoot-out