Ross McGowan came home in 30 strokes at Centurion Country Club on Wednesday for a first round 64 and two stroke lead at the Telkom PGA Pro-Am.
“Nothing goes through your mind, and that’s probably the best thing. You just stand there and go for every flag and try to hole the putt when you get there,” he said.
McGowan’s playing partners Wynand Dingle and Johan Bekker carded 68 and 66 respectively, but could not catch the Englishman, who finished the first round on eight under par.
“It was good,” said McGowan. “I played with a couple of great guys today, and they were schooling me on the front, but I turned it around and birdied six holes coming in.”
The 30 year old finished the round without a bogey on his card. He drained eight putts for birdie for a comfortable two shot cushion.
“Hitting two good shots on the tenth steadied me and once I birdied there it gradually got closer. I managed to get the ball rolling nicely and started sinking lots of putts,” he added.
The round was a great sign for the Dubai local, who is rebuilding his career after injury setbacks. In 2010 he tore triangular fibrocartilage in his forearm and then a ligament in the same location, which resulted in a slip from a career-high of 63rd in the Official World Golf Ranking to his current position of 1034.
“It's not easy. It's a bit strange going to Tour School and pre-qualifying for events each week, but it's all about starting again and working your way up,” he said.
“First tournament of the year and it’s nice to get off to a good start. I’ve still got to get into Joburg Open, so the main goal is a top-five finish here. But if we can lift the trophy at the end of the week then it’s even better!”
The conditions were prime for scoring on Wednesday and Johan Bekker’s 66 earned him a share of second alongside Oliver Bekker and Dawie van der Walt. Four players shared fifth on five under.