It was a solid, if unspectacular start to his year, but Andrew Curlewis put that all behind him with a superb eight-under-par 64 on Thursday in the opening round of the Eye of Africa PGA Championship.
He made an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey, even while his round was disrupted by two breaks while the players came off the course because of dangerous weather, and that gave him a two-stroke edge over England’s Toby Tree, who was in turn a shot clear of a group of players on five-under as play was called off in the first round because of darkness.
‘The round took about four hours longer than usual,’ said Curlewis, ‘but I can’t complain at the end of it.’
He got things going off the 10th tee, and, after a par there, he was soon into his work with four consecutive birdies from 11 to 14. Two more birdies came on 17 and 18, and then things went a little quiet. A birdie at four was negated by his only bogey on the next hole, but then, as the siren sounded for the second weather delay, he was lining up a three-footer for eagle. He made that after a break of nearly two hours and that took him clear of his pursuers.
‘I hit some nice shots on the front nine,’ he said. ‘It was just the putts that didn’t go in. But I managed to finish nicely and get done before the weather comes back.’
Tree, who made eight birdies and two bogeys in his 66, was also affected by the long time it took to get his round done. ‘You just try and switch off during the delay, and then warm up again, get ready for the round as if you’re starting on the first tee,’ he said. ‘I got off to a dodgy start with a bogey on 11, and then I nearly made a hole-in-one on the next,’ he said. But then I managed to make some birdies on the back nine, so it all worked out.’
Those who were finished on five-under were Jbe’ Kruger, Danie van Tonder and Chris Swanepoel, with four more players on four-under.
Picture of Curlewis courtesy of Luke Walker/Gallo Images
-8 – Andrew Curlewis (RSA)
-6 – Toby Tree (ENG)
-5 – Jbe’ Kruger (RSA), Danie van Tonder (RSA), Chris Swanepoel (RSA), Dylan Frittelli (RSA) 
-4 – Jacques Blaauw (RSA), Jaco Van Zyl (RSA), Vaughn Groenewald (RSA), Scott Vincent (ZIM), Jacques Kruyswijk (RSA) ,Ockie Strydom (RSA) , Jeff Inglis (ENG) 
-3 – Wallie Coetsee (RSA), Rourke van der Spuy (RSA), Richard Sterne (RSA), Alexander Knappe (GER),Makhetha Mazibuko (RSA), Derik Ferreira (RSA), Matthew Carvell (RSA) , Tyrone Ferreira (RSA) , Bryce Easton (RSA) ,Neil Schietekat (RSA) 
-2 – Mark Williams (ZIM), Garth Mulroy (RSA), Dean Burmester (RSA), Darren Fichardt (RSA), Ruan de Smidt (RSA),Alex Haindl (RSA), Steven Ferreira (RSA) , Tyrone Ryan (RSA) , Kevin Phelan (IRL) , Christiaan Basson (RSA) ,James Kamte (RSA) , Oliver Bekker (RSA) , Drikus van der Walt (RSA) , Jaco Prinsloo (RSA) ,Christofer Blomstrand (SWE) 
-1 – Jonathan Agren (SWE), Grant Muller (RSA), Tyrone Mordt (RSA), Justin Walters (RSA), Andrew Georgiou (CYP),Michael du Toit (RSA) , CJ du Plessis (RSA) , Michael Palmer (RSA) , Stephen Ferreira (POR) ,Grant Veenstra (RSA) , Doug McGuigan (SCO) , Louis de Jager (RSA) , Johnny Evans (ENG) 
Par – Gideon Pienaar (RSA), Rhys Enoch (WAL), Hennie du Plessis (RSA), Zachary Portemont (USA), Theunis Spangenberg (RSA),Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA), Jaco Ahlers (RSA), Jared Harvey (RSA), Lyle Rowe (RSA), Bryandrew Roelofsz (RSA),Teboho Sefatsa (RSA), Owen Grobler (RSA) , Dwayne Basson (RSA) , Charl Coetzee (RSA) , Steve Surry (ENG) ,Bradford Vaughan (RSA) , Derick Petersen (RSA) , JJ Senekal (RSA) , Morne Buys (RSA) , Rhys West (RSA) ,Daniel Greene (RSA) , Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM) , Bryce Bibby (RSA) , Mark Murless (RSA) , Russel Franz (RSA) ,Antonio Rosado (POR) , Callie Swart (RSA) , Blanche Lamprecht (RSA) , Altus Kapp (RSA) , Jason Viljoen (RSA) ,Omar Sandys (RSA) , Greg Bentley (ZIM) 
+1 – Pieter Kruger (RSA), Bobby Wyatt (USA), Merrick Bremner (RSA), Titch Moore (RSA), Zander Lombard (RSA),Bryn Flanagan (RSA), Juan Swart (RSA), Martin Rominger (SUI) , Oscar Stark (SWE) , Anthony Michael (RSA) ,Ryan Tipping (RSA) , Lindani Ndwandwe (RSA) , Desvonde Botes (RSA) , Etienne Bond (RSA) ,Andre de Decker (RSA) , Brett Liddle (RSA) , Kevin Rundle (RSA) 
+2 – Calvin Pearson (RSA), Shaun Norris (RSA), PH McIntyre (RSA), Jean Hugo (RSA), Jason Froneman (RSA),Gert Myburgh (RSA), Leorin Pillay (RSA), Jean-Paul Strydom (RSA) , Ryan Cairns (ZIM) , Alan McLean (SCO) ,Divan van den Heever (RSA) , Breyten Meyer (RSA) , Colin Nel (RSA) , Thanda Mavundla (RSA) , Stuart Smith (BOT) 
+3 – Christo Roos (RSA), Armandt Scholtz (RSA), Sipho Bujela (RSA), Reece Mayberry (RSA), Jake Redman (RSA),Michiel Bothma (RSA), Clifford Ndou (RSA) , Heinrich Bruiners (RSA) , Allan Versfeld (RSA) , Teaghan Gauche (RSA) ,Jason Diab (RSA) 
+4 – Arthur Horne (SWZ), Keith Horne (RSA), Callum Mowat (RSA), MJ Viljoen (RSA), JC Ritchie (RSA) 
+5 – Ruan Pretorius (RSA), Ian Eveleigh (RSA), Gavin Moynihan (IRL), Toto Thimba (Jnr) 
+6 – Michael Hollick (RSA), Nemanja Savic (SRB), Ryan Reid (RSA) , Werner van Niekerk (RSA) , Trevor Mahoney (RSA) 
+7 – Gregory Jacobs (RSA), Kenneth Dube (RSA), Le Roux Ferreira (RSA), Jeff Hopkins (IRL), Siphiwe Siphayi (RSA)
+8 – Tyron McComb (RSA), Justin Harding (RSA), Gerrit Foster (RSA) 
+9 – Marius Mizen (RSA), Irvin Mazibuko (RSA), Stefan Engell Andersen (KEN) , Rudy Whitfield (RSA) 
+10 – Dayne Moore (ZAM)
+13 – Neal Herman (RSA)
RTD – Mikhail Tewary (RSA) 
DSQ – Godfrey Mphaga (RSA)