13th June 2022 | Big Easy Tour
Blaauw’s hot putter hands him early lead at Reading
Reinhardt Blaauw credited a hot putter for his blemish-free opening round of six-under-par 65 which saw him take an early one-stroke lead over Ricky Hendler in the third tournament of the Altron Big Easy Tour at Reading Country Club on Monday.
Starting his round from the 10th tee, Blaauw made the perfect start to the round, birdieing three of his first four holes. After that, he went about his business quietly, making four straight pars before making further gains on the 18th, his ninth hole for the day.
“My putting was incredible,” said Blaauw after the round. “but I think I was lucky because I got a 09H05 tee-off time and it was not as cold as it was in the morning when most of the guys went out. I started on 10 and I holed out of the bunker on 11; got nice three birdies on the row there and made a few putts.”
On four-under-par through the first nine, Blaauw was assured on the way home and backed up that birdie on 18 with another on the first as he played the front nine as his back nine for the day. After that birdie, Blaauw who plays out of Centurion Country Club in the capital city found more joy on the fourth hole, his 13th, and made a birdie there while giving nothing away in an untainted round.
“All in all, I hit the ball really well today,” Blaauw said, “and it helps when you play in these Big Easy events. Guys like Ricky (Hendler) are playing really well and to compete with them here, you have to hit it well so that you give yourself opportunities. But I’m also enjoying a nice run of form now and I just have to build on that and try to keep up with Ricky and the other guys that are playing solid golf.
“I’ve been working really hard on my putting and I think that was my main strength today. In the first nine, I only had 11 putts and back nine 15, so it shows that in the last few tournaments, I’ve worked really hard on my putting and it has helped. If I missed a green, I could still chip in close and make the putt and that keeps the momentum going. But there are still 36 holes to play so I just have to keep doing the same things; hitting the fairways and missing in the right places when I do miss.”
Blaauw will want to replicate today’s effort when round two tees off because while he occupies the top spot on the leaderboard, for now, he is fully aware of the chasing pack, led by the on-form Hendler who carded a five-under 66 on day one.
“I had a good week last week at Huddle Park and then played a Bushveld Tour event on Friday and I won,” noted Hendler, a member at Dainfern Golf Club. “I haven’t played well here in the past but my golf has been good so I was excited to see if I can get some good golf on the course here. It’s a tough course and you’ve got to shape the ball well off the tee and played really well the front nine; five birdies for five-under.
“I had it going on the back nine and got to six-under, but me and my caddy made on bad club choice off the tee and ended up making a silly double. I birdied 17 to get it back to five-under.”
Gerard Pepler and Jacquin Hess share the third spot after an opening round of 69 for each.
The Big Easy Tour was founded in 2011 with support from Ernie Els and counts current international star Christiaan Bezuidenhout among its former Order of Merit winners.