ZIMBABWE golfer Brendon de Jonge’s campaign at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur got off to a promising start yesterday after he finished the opening round in a tie for 16th position to leave himself in contention for the title. REPORT BY DANIEL NHAKANISO SPORTS REPORTER
De Jonge, who has been in top form on the PGA Tour this season, sank five birdies on his way to carding an opening round three-under 68 on the par 71 Mines Resort and Golf Club.
With the temperature hitting 34 degrees Celsius and with high humidity, De Jonge lost concentration giving away two shots with bogeys on the 12th and 18th. The United States-based professional golfer, who is a creditable 39th on the PGA Tour Money list, was five shots behind American Troy Matteson.
Matteson made eight birdies in a bogey-free eight-under 63 for a one-stroke lead over fellow Americans Jeff Overton, Brian Harman and Robert Garrigus. Former Zimbabwe Open Champion Jbe’ Kruger from South Africa finished the opening round as the highest-placed African player, tied for seventh on five-under 66.
He was joined in seventh by former world number one and crowd favourite Tiger Woods, who was exceptional from tee-to-green en route to a five-under-par 66 and a share of seventh place.
However, for De Jonge, the signs could have been better, as he has been in good form with two top-five finishes in the Fall Series. He currently has a scoring average of 66, which should be a huge boost for him for the remaining 54 holes.
Birdies will be a requirement this week and no-one has made as many on the US Tour this year than De Jonge (410) although his average number per round spot is less flattering (35th).