NAIROBI, Kenya (12 October 2015) – Jade Buitendag, Jason Smith, Aubrey Beckley and Andre Nel got South Africa’s title defence in the All Africa Golf Team Championships off to a fast start in Kenya on Monday.
Buitendag carded a two under 70, Smith contributed a 72 and Nel and Beckley posted a pair of 74s in the first round at Limuru Country Club.
Under the three scores to count format, the South African team combined for an even-par 216 to open up a four stroke lead over hosts Kenya and Zambia.
Reigning Africa Zone VI champions, Uganda slipped into fourth on 222, while Zimbabwe is a further three strokes adrift.
“Jade was flawless from tee to green,” said Tuks Golf Club & Academies head coach Llewellyn van Leeuwen.
“I really like the rhythm he swings the club with. Look out for some low ones from him. Jason was also very good tee to green His scoring clubs are on point and giving him many opportunities. He is putting with such a great attitude that I know he is going make a bunch of putts this week.
“Andre, our new cap, played great, too, but he let himself down with too many soft mistakes. He has such a fantastic attitude, though. He just loves playing golf and challenging himself.
“Aubrey hit three poor tee shots that cost him. His fighting, never-say-die attitude actually saw him get back into a great position.”
A total of 19 nations were due to start the prestigious biennial event, but only 13 countries arrived in Nairobi.
“We got the start we were hoping for and the guys looked great in practice post round,” said South African Golf Association president Gerhard Conradie.
“It is disappointing that some nations confirmed and then opted out, but this is still a great contest and the competitive ambiance could really be felt out there.”
John Kariuki (73), Jay Sandhu (73) and John Karichu (74) combined for Kenya, while Sydney Wemba (71), Peter Munyinya (71) and Aaron Simfukwe (78) delivered the counting scores for Zimbabwe.
Uganda’s Rod Odile fired a three-under-par 69 to lead Buitendag in the Individual Competition by one stroke.
FIRST ROUND SCORES
216 South Africa
220 Kenya, Zambia
235 Tanzania, Tunisia
241 Ivory Coast
242 Namibia, Seychelles