First tee: Alfred Dunhill Championship begins

12/13/2012 5:27:10 AM
It was a lovely morning at Leopard Creek for the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship  (EuropeanTour)
It was a lovely morning at Leopard Creek for the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship (EuropeanTour)

The 50th event to be co-sanctioned between The European Tour and South Africa’s Sunshine Tour was launched as the Alfred Dunhill Championship got underway on a beautiful morning at Leopard Creek Country Club.

With the summer sun already hours breached in Mpumalanga and temperatures well into the 20s, the first tee shots were struck in the shadow of the magnificent colonial-style clubhouse at Gary Player’s masterpiece.

The light reflecting, picturesque off the water features that frame the start and end points of the renowned layout – set to a score of crickets, birdsong and all manner of wildlife noises – South Africa’s Ockie Strydom got play started at precisely 0620 local time.

Strydom, who finished third in the SA Open in 2011 as countryman Hennie Otto went on to triumph, selected driver from the tee at the par four first, hitting a ripper that started low before rearing into the sky and down the right side of the fairway.

This year's Alfred Dunhill Championship, the 19th edition since the first was staged under the name the Lexington South Africa PGA in 1995, is the ninth to be held at the stunning course situated on the outskirts of the Kruger National Park.