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Couvra fires three eagles to claim NMB Championship lead

Couvra fires three eagles to claim NMB Championship lead

Martin Couvra posted a sensational 11 under par round of 61 to climb into pole position after the first round of the NMB Championship at Humewood Golf Club.


The Frenchman’s remarkable round in Port Elizabeth included three eagles and five birdies as he moved two shots clear of Sweden’s Björn Åkesson, South African Neil Schietekat and Australian Hayden Hopewell in second.

The 21-year-old, who became the first European to win all three of South Africa's major amateur titles at the start of 2023, was delighted to go low again in the rainbow nation.

“It was just a perfect round today,” he said. “I played very well this morning and I’m so happy to get this low round posted on day one.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever made three eagles in the same round and it was just amazing. It feels so good and hopefully I can build on my strong start tomorrow.

“I have a lot of good memories in this country from my amateur career, with my caddie and with the French amateur team. I love South Africa and this is an amazing course.”

Couvra, who turned professional shortly after picking up his maiden Challenge Tour title at last year’s Challenge de España, is looking forward to taking on the links layout again tomorrow with the wind expected to pick up in Port Elizabeth.

“I love links golf and this one is absolutely perfect,” he said. “Luckily the wind was quiet this morning but I know it can be very difficult in the afternoon when the wind is strong.

“The wind is going to pick up tomorrow so it is going to be a battle but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I can have another successful day.”

South Africans Danie van Niekerk, Keenan Davidse, Robin Williams, Anthony Michael, JC Ritchie and Yurav Premlall share fifth position on eight under par, while six players are a shot further back in 11th including Frenchman Pierre Pineau and England’s Lee Slattery.

The second round of the NMB Championship will get under way at 6:30am local time, with Couvra teeing it up alongside Ritchie and South African Jaco van Zyl at 12:20pm.

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