Edited by Anand Datla
March 12, 2015: Adrian Otaegui came close to shooting the European Tour’s first round of 59 as he surged into a clear lead at the Tshwane Open. The 22 year old, who has not won on the European Tour, remarkably fired nine birdies, including five consecutively from the eighth, in an outstanding eight under par 62 to move two ahead on 11 under at Pretoria County Club.
“I was focused and didn’t know that I had made five birdies in a row,” he said. “I was playing well and made a few putts, that’s all I was thinking about. The best golf is when you think as little as possible, and this was one of those days.”
His ninth gain came at the 16th, meaning he needed to pick up two shots on the last two holes, both par fours, to make history. Otaegui came agonisingly close to a birdie at the 17th, chipping just to the right of the hole from the edge of the green, but could not manage the eagle he then required at the 514 yard last.
Indeed, he made a bogey, a sole blemish of his round, like on Thursday. “It’s a tough par four and it’s normally a par five,” he reflected.
His hot streak, made in ideal, sunny conditions set to stay all day, around the turn included a neat chip to within inches of the ninth pin and more fluent putting on the 14th green. Otaegui, who started the day on three under and was in the first group, added: “Yesterday in the afternoon the fairways were a bit harder, so the ball was rolling a bit more. This morning the ball was flying less, because it was cool at 6.40 in the morning.
“The course is in good shape and it’s getting warm now, but I think it will hold up at the weekend.” His nearest challenger was Merrick Bremner, whose round of four under featured four birdies in his last six holes.
Bremner’s fellow South African Keith Horne, Edoardo Molinari, who shot four under, and overnight co-leader David Horsey were one further back on eight under after their rounds.
Horsey carded six birdies in a mixed round of one under that included a double bogey at the par four fourth. Horsey’s fellow overnight leader Morten Ørum Madsen Madsen, who on Thursday remarkably picked up four shots in his last two holes thanks partly to a hole-in-one at the eighth to sit seven under, was among the late starters.