ZIMBABWE’S Brendon de Jonge stumbled to a triple bogey, on a horror 12th hole, to wreck what was had appeared a brilliant opening day at the World Cup of Golf at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia, yesterday.The United States-based star, who is the 2012 Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year, was languishing in 38th place after his horror show at the 12th undid what was supposed to be a good day at the office.
De Jonge closed his opening day with a plus three 74 and was eight strokes adrift of American Kevin Streelman and Thomas Bjorn of Denmark who shot rounds of 5-under-par 66 yesterday to share the lead after the first day of the World Cup.
Streelman birdied five of six holes on the back nine at Royal Melbourne before two late bogeys.
KJ Choi, Martin Laird of Scotland and Stuart Manley of Wales were tied for third with 67s, a stroke behind Streelman and Bjorn. Jason Day was in sixth place after a 68, two behind.
Streelman’s American teammate Matt Kuchar shot 71 after four bogeys on the back nine. The Americans and Denmark were tied for the team lead, three strokes ahead of Portugal.
Adam Scott, who won the Australian PGA and Australian Masters over the past two weeks, had a quintuple-bogey 9 on the 12th hole and shot 75.
“I made some good birdie putts today and some par saves as well, so pretty happy,” said Streelman, who is playing in Australia and representing the US for the first time.
Bjorn had a poor start to his day, four-putting the fourth hole.
“I thought, ‘Well, this could be a long day,’ but I just kind of kept my composure and made some good birdies and kept playing solid,” Bjorn said. “It is, in my eyes, probably the finest golf course you can ever play.”
Kuchar said he wasn’t disappointed with his score. He bogeyed 18, a hole he double-bogeyed at the Australian Masters on Sunday to give Scott as two-stroke win.
“The back side today, certainly 16, 18, are really tough holes, “ Kuchar said. “I was not able to finish those off as well as I would like to have today, but even par is not a bad score.”
It was the fourth time in Scott’s career that he’s had a quintuple bogey. His worst-ever score on a hole was a 10 on the par-5 10th at Doral during a World Golf Championship event in 2007.
Trying to drive over a dog-leg with his tee shot, Scott hit his first ball on the par-4, 402-metre (440-yard) 12th into the bushes in the right rough, then hit a provisional in the same area. He didn’t find his first ball and his second was unplayable, so he returned to the tee and hit his fifth shot.
Scott hit through the green on his approach, got on the green for seven and two-putted for 9.
“Just a couple of lazy swings and I paid the price,” Scott said. “Just away with the fairies on that hole. When you play good tracks like this you need to be switched on at all times and I paid the price today.”
The system being used to determine the entries at the World Cup – World Golf Rankings and the number of players eligible from each country based on those rankings, will be used at the Rio Games when golf returns to the Olympic programme in 2016.
De Jonge started well with a par on the par four first hole and he birdied the second par five second hole and another birdie on the par three third hole put him in a very strong position. He followed that with a par on the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth and his 33 put him among the first nine leaders but his steady show in that opening nine was in sharp contrast of the struggles he endured on the back nine.
A par on the 10th and a bogey on the 11th were followed by a triple bogey seven on the 12th hole but the Zimbabwean recovered to par the next two holes and a birdie on the 15th brought him back but he dropped a shot on the 16th and 18th as he came home in 41.
South Africa’s Brendan Grace was in 32nd place at two-over-par. — Sports Reporter/AP.