Zimbabwe’s Matthew Bramford sets pace at Africa Amateur Championship

Zimbabwe’s Matthew Bramford sets pace at Africa Amateur Championship

By Irish Golfer

SOUTH AFRICA: Matthew Bramford shot a superb bogey-free 65 to take the lead in the Africa Amateur Championship on seven-under-par after the first day’s play at Leopard Creek.

An eagle on the par-4 6th was the highlight of the front nine for 19-year-old Bramford, who recently moved to South Africa to attend golf school at Bramble Hill and has committed to playing college golf with Friends University in Kansas.

A prolific back nine featured back-to-back birdies on the 10th and 11th and then three consecutive birdies through the 14th, 15th and 16th holes rounded off a fantastic performance which clearly exceeded his expectations.

“I came here to Leopard Creek really just wanting to shoot par,” said Bramford.

“It’s such a tough golf course and obviously I exceeded my expectations today. It’s a fun course to play when you’re hitting the ball quite straight.

Zimbabwe’s Matthew Bramford

“I think it’s always nice to get off to a good start as it’s never as fun fighting back. I’m definitely happy with the round and looking forward to the rest of the Championship.”

The Zimbabwean holds a one-shot advantage over South Africa’s Ivan Verster, who carded a 66 in glorious, but hot and demanding weather conditions, to finish the first round in second place on six-under-par.

“I’m just pleased to get out of the sun. It’s an absolute scorcher out there today,” said Verster.

“I’m happy with my round and I putted really nicely. My putting has been a bit up and down in the last couple of months so to get a few birdies rolling in is really nice.

“I think the birdie on the second was the most pleasing. I hit the second shot just short of the green, then hit it about ten foot past, but made the putt.

“A round like that gives you big confidence and to shoot 66 on this course on any day is a good score.

“I knew I had a good chance at shooting a low one today. There’s still 54 holes left though, so anything can happen, but it’s a good start to the week for me.”

A South African quartet, including Simon du Plooy, Jordan Burnand, Daniel Bennett and Altin van der Merwe, sit three shots further back on three-under-par after posting 69s.

Du Plooy finished his round in style with three birdies in a row to put himself in the mix early in the Championship.