Under grey skies and through intermittent rain at Selborne Hotel, Spa and Golf Estate on Wednesday, Jake Redman signed for a five-under-par 67 to share the lead in the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament.
He joined Jared Harvey at the top of the leaderboard in the 54-hole R600 000 event. They’re one stroke clear of four players, and there is a group of nine more on three-under.
Redman managed to conclude his round just before darkness set in. With four straight birdies from the turn, he held the sole lead on six under. But he came home with bogeys at 15 and 17, and then birdied 18.
“Holes 15 and 17 are really tough par fours. But I’m happy with my game. I’ve been working hard, and it seems to be paying off,” he said.
With two wins on the developmental Big Easy Tour this year, Harvey is now going to find out if he’s ready to win on the Sunshine Tour.
Harvey produced his 67 in the morning, and it was built around the confidence of his victories on the Big Easy Tour this year. Harvey also believes the step up to contending on the main Sunshine Tour is purely a mental barrier.
“You get that confidence from seeing yourself up on the leaderboard. I’ve shot some good scores on the Big Easy Tour that I’ve felt could be competitive on the Sunshine Tour. Obviously it’s a bit tougher on the Sunshine Tour, with the competition. But the scores you put up on the Big Easy Tour – I just feel they could be competitive anywhere else,” he said.
Harvey has played in only one other Vodacom Origins event this year, at De Zalze, where he missed the cut.
“All areas of my game are where I want them to be at the moment. It was quite tough when it started to rain, but you just deal with it. You put your head down and grind it out. The softer greens helped me because I could be a bit more aggressive on the putts.”
Allan Versfeld is three strokes off the pace and looking to win back-to-back titles on the six-tournament Vodacom Origins series.
Versfeld has the experienced caddie Simon Masilo with him this week. For the past 17 years, Masilo has been the regular caddie for Ernie Els whenever he’s played in South Africa.
“We’ve been friends for a long time. He agreed to caddie for me and it’s probably going to be fulltime. You just learn from all of his experience, and I think we’ll make a good team,” said Versfeld.