SCOTT Henry reckoned he needed a lesson to sort out a “draw” but there was little evidence of that as the Scot made a promising start in the Joburg Open.
On a low-scoring day at Royal Johannesburg & Kensington Golf Club, the 28-year-old from Clydebank carded a six-under-par 65 on the West Course to sit just three shots off the lead in joint-ninth.
Coming in late in the day with a 62 on the same layout, South African Nic Henning is out in front by a shot from two of his compatriots, Titch Moore and Tjaart Van Der Walt, as well as big-hitting Belgian Thomas Pieters.
Henry signed for seven birdies and dropped just one shot – at the par-4 11th – as he showed that his game was in better shape than he’d hinted on social media.
Replying to a post on Twitter by Alastair Forsyth, who is now coaching at Mearns Castle in Glasgow, about how he’d sorted out one of his new pupils, Henry wrote: “I’ll be in next week Al to see if you can straighten my draw as well.”
On seeing Henry’s start yesterday, Forsyth replied: “Great round mate, the draw must have been pretty straight!”
Henry is making just his second appearance of the 2015 European Tour wraparound schedule, having failed to secure his full playing rights through either the Challenge Tour or Qualifying School
He made the cut in last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am, a Sunshine Tour event at Fancourt, and will be looking to use this good start as the foundation to a strong season.
Henning, a 45-year-old, defied his position as the world No 1,555 as he equalled the course record with a flawless effort that contained an eagle and seven birdies. “I haven’t made a score like that for many, many years so it’s a really nice surprise,” he admitted.
Sean Jacklin, Tony’s Scots-born son, opened with a three-under 68 on the West Course while Andrew McArthur’s 69 on the East Course equated to the same in terms of par. David Drysdale (70) was the only other Scot to break par, with Blairgowrie amateur Bradley Neil having a one-over 72.
On the PGA Tour, US Open champion Martin Kaymer fired a two-under 68 in windy conditions to be among the early leaders in the Honda Classic.
World No 1 Rory McIlroy was among the afternoon starters at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens along with Scottish duo Stephen Gallacher and Russell Knox.
Elsewhere, Catriona Matthew opened with a one-under 71 to sit in a tie for 27th as American pair Stacey Lewis and Brittany Lang, along with Taiwan’s Yani Tseng, set the pace in the Honda LPGA Thailand with 66s.