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SDC Championship 2023 - Day one digest

SDC Championship 2023 - Day one digest

Everything you need to know from day one at St. Francis Links.

Luiten added to his albatross tally and Bekker rivalled him for shot of the day during the first round of the SDC Championship 2023.

Here is everything you need to know from day one at St. Francis Links.

Luiten's roller-coaster round

Joost Luiten shot an opening 69, with three birdies - but that does not begin to tell the story of his round. The Dutchman went out in 38, with a solitary opening birdie undone by a triple-bogey seven at the eighth hole - but experienced the exact inverse of that at the 13th as he made mincemeat of the 533-yard par-five, hitting his driver downwind and then holing out with a pitching wedge for a stunning albatross. It was the third albatross of his career, having previously achieved the feat at the 2014 Volvo Golf Champions in Durban and 2017's Andalucia Valderrama Masters - both of which helped set up top-three finishes. A final gain at the 18th set the seal on perhaps the most eye-catching round of the day.

Bekker holes a belter

Oliver Bekker staked his claim for the best putt of the day with this incredible right-to-left breaker from the front of the 17th green. The resulting birdie took him under par for his round and though he gave the shot back with a lip-out from shorter range at the last for a 72, it is this effort that will live on in the memory...

Johannessen in a rush

Leaders Kristian Krogh Johannessen and David Ravetto were enjoying not just their five-under-par rounds but the spectacular setting for the tournament on South Africa's Eastern Cape. The windswept, Jack Nicklaus-designed links are set in a surfer's paradise and Johannessen, who missed the cut at last week's Magical Kenya Open, admitted he had found the silver lining in that result by arriving early to one of his favourite parts of the world. “I love it," he said of playing in South Africa. "I’ve made some friends down here as well and when I missed the cut last week in Kenya, I couldn’t put my a* on the flight early enough to get down here! Especially down here, the coastline from the Cape up to here is just amazing – best place on Earth.” Frenchman Ravetto agreed: "There’s worse places to play golf, right? I played a couple of courses in South Africa but I’ve got to say, it’s a really nice place. You’ve got the sea, you’ve got a surfer spot in Jeffreys Bay, and the course is really nice.”

Finishing strong

The par-four 18th offered up plenty of birdies over the course of the day - few more impressive than this from David Law. The Scot finished birdie-birdie to move under par and recover from a double-bogey seven at the third, with this approach shot the key reason why...

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