Immelman, Scott lead Nedbank Challenge
BY iseekgolf.com | Southern Africa Tour | 2007 Nedbank Golf Challenge | Round One | 30 Nov 2007
Trevor Immelman and Adam Scott ended as joint leaders on five-under 67 after the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Thursday.
Scott, sixth in the world rankings, charged to the top of the leaderboard with some brilliant play on the second nine to put early leader Immelman under pressure.
Scott birdied the tenth and 12th holes to add to his two going out, then eagled the par-five 14th to leapfrog his way to co-leader position, thanks too to Immelman’s lapses on the 11th and 12th where he managed consecutive bogeys.
A definite candidate for shot of the day was Scott’s 40m chip for his eagle, while a spectacular sand save on the 11th also helped his cause.
Immelman, who was not part of the initial field and only invited following the withdrawal of Sergio Garcia, enjoyed a bullish run on the front nine. Immelman showed an early liking for the Gary Player Country Club as he roared to four-under-par through four birdies on the first four holes.
He was faultless off the tees, setting himself up for accurate approach shots at the pins on responsive, damp greens and his putter played along.
His early tournament form also included sinking a 25-foot putt for an eagle on the ninth then followed it with a prodigious 306m drive to record his fifth birdie on the tenth hole.
The next hole signalled the beginning of a poor run for the South African, going from one bunker to another for his first of two bogeys. He then settled down in the last six holes, recording pars on all of them.
Englishmen Luke Donald and Justin Rose ended joint third a shot behind the leaders.
South African Ernie Els rallied on the back straight to climb up to fifth position, tied with Australian Geoff Ogilvy.
Early favourite and local hero Els, who is bidding to become the first player to win four times at Sun City, had an indifferent start, struggling with his putting. He bogeyed the first, birdied the second then bogeyed the third after two three-stabs with the flat stick.
Els went below par for the first time on his overall score after the tenth hole then eagled the 14th helped by a dazzling second shot that just cleared the bunker before trickling on to the green, five feet from the hole.
He then produced the shot of the day on the 17th hole, a 30m chip over the water to save his par after his second from the right rough found its way into the lake short of the green.
Still, there were some who would have been disappointed with their first-round performances.
The first round got off to a bad start for South Africans Charl Schwartzel, who bogeyed three of the first seven holes; Retief Goosen who ended with four bogeys and Rory Sabbatini, who ended rooted to the bottom.
The Gary Player Country Club threw up a cool, overcast day for the golfers, but recent and considerable rain means an already lengthy golf course has thrown up an even longer challenge for the 12 invitees.
Source – Nedbank