Denmarfk’s Lasse Jansen rolled in a total of five birdies at the par-72 Karen Country Club course to share a club house lead with South Africa’s Haydn Porteous as the 2014 Barclays Kenya Open golf championship got under way.
The birdie-chasing Jansen picked up birdies at the first two long holes on the front nine (second and third), dropped one shot at the fourth but regained it at the eighth.
He dropped an early shot at the back nine (12th), but hit two other birdies at the 15th and 17th and an eagle at the home green saw him sign for a five under par 67 card to hold at the top half way in the round with Porteous who made four birdies at the front nine and two at the back nine with only a bogey at the 12th.
“I started out really well. After two holes, I was under par and chasing more birdies but nothing happened for a while and I was moving back a little. I was just trying to find my game and find some more birdies. Then I hit a fantastic second shot from the woods at the 15th and that was the game-changer for me.
HIT A TREE
“My drive hit a tree and it was almost on the 17th hole nearby. I hit a three wood low under the trees and it ran up onto the green and I made a birdie. Then I was saying to myself, ‘come on, let’s finish strong’ then I finished three, three, three and I was suddenly five under so I felt like I got my reward in the end. I’m very pleased with it, it’s a nice start,” said Jansen.
“Somehow I’ve always played well here. My first year on Challenge Tour I had my first top ten here. Some courses and some countries, you just feel like you play well there and you’re always looking forward to coming back. Maybe this is one of them for me.
“There is a little bit of unfinished business because I was playing really well in that final round in Muthaiga two years ago. I was very comfortable in the lead and Seve just caught me in the last three holes and I missed out in the play-off,” he added.
“Maybe I can finish one better but I also know there are three rounds to go so I need to tell myself, ‘easy not, there is a lot of golf to be played’, but it’s nice to think those thoughts because it means you are in a good position.”
The two early leaders left South Korea’s An Byeong-Hun just a shot behind as Sweden’s Oscar Stak led a group of 10 on three under par 69. They included American Dodge Krammer, Italian Nicoolo Quinterella, France’s Julien Guevvien, England’s Oliver Wilson and South Africa’s Jake Roos.
The greens were hard and appeared a real challenge for the players, the wind also making it tough for those who were under clubbing. Half of the field was however still tackling the course which is in a great condition. Among those in Thursday’s draw included defending champion Jordi Garcia Pinto who was in the company’s Jamie Elson and Kenya’s Anil Shah.