I played flawless golf - Koepka

Annette Crawford
January 12, 2018

Cape Town - Branden Grace made three eagles on his way to a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday to take a share of the first-round lead of the SA Open, proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni, at Glendower Golf Club.

Grace was in stupendous form on Thursday afternoon, making three birdies and three eagles, to go with two bogeys for a 65, seven-under-par, and sit alongside USA golfer Chase Koepka atop the leaderboard.

Koepka, whose brother Brooks won the US Open past year, had set the early clubhouse target after a round containing seven birdies, an eagle and two bogeys, with England's Chris Paisley a shot off the pace following a 66.

"I can't remember ever having three eagles in a round before, so that was something different, it was fun. So I played well", a chuffed Grace said after his round. "I didn't have too many shots from inside 150, but every one that I had, I was hitting them close".

Jamie Donaldson, Europe's Ryder Cup match-winner against the Americans at Gleneagles four years ago, claimed the circuit's first hole-in-one in
2018 courtesy of a 9-iron at the 152-yard 14th hole. It was just the second hole of the day, and I had something like 244 to the flag into the wind.

"I got aggressive with the 3-wood and knocked it in there 25 feet and managed to roll in the putt". "It's the first round of the year, so there's obviously a couple of improvements to make but overall I'm happy".

He said that putt had given him confidence for the rest of the round despite struggling with his speed control. You never know how it's going to go, even though I've been playing well in practice. I did leave a few short.

That he was a little off was probably the result of a lengthy break over the holidays.

Koepka set the mark in the morning wave with a round that included seven birdies and an eagle against two dropped shots while Grace's rollercoaster score came in the afternoon. I was a bit rusty with the wedges, but all in all I'm pleased with the round. I wanted two good practice sessions before I came to the tournament, and the wind on Sunday and Monday at home at Fancourt was awful. I definitely left a lot of shots out there today, so hopefully I can keep up this kind of play.

'I think I played flawless except for the second shot to the first hole, ' Koepka said.

"I was really happy with my warm up and hit some lovely approach shots, mainly into par-5s", he told The Scotsman afterwards. So, it was big deal to start off my round.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article