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WATCH: Spaniard Angel Hidalgo rides hot putter to claim Joburg Open lead

Spain's Angel Hidalgo in action during the Joburg Open. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)

Spain's Angel Hidalgo in action during the Joburg Open. Photo: Michael Sherman (ANA)

Published Nov 25, 2021


Johannesburg — Spain’s Angel Hidalgo rode his luck and a hot putter to fire a six-under 65 to share the lead in the weather-interrupted first round of the Joburg Open on Thursday.

South Africa’s Thriston Lawrence was also six-under with a birdie putt remaining on his final hole, when play was suspended at 5.05pm due to lightning in the area. Play was later called off for the day, and golfers who are yet to complete their first round will resume at 6.30am on Friday morning.

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Hidalgo’s round contained six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys as he wielded his putter to perfection — needing just 24 putts on the day.

However, it was a poor chip on the par three eighth hole after his tee shot came up way short of the green which was the bit of good fortune Hidalgo needed in order to sign for the lead. There, Hidalgo struck his chip shot which looked to be well short, but the ball bounced on a sprinkler head and nestled up close to the hole and he was able to save par.

“I was a little bit lucky, I was trying to bounce the ball just over the sprinkler head but I think I hit the ball with a bit too much spin so it came out low, but it was a good par,” said Hidalgo.

“It was absolutely key for me today. The last few weeks I’ve been putting really badly, but I don’t know why but today it changed a lot. I made a lot of important putts between three and five metres, and that was really important when you’re trying to go low. I will rest now.”

A final birdie from the left rough on the ninth, Hidalgo’s last hole was the exclamation mark on a fine round.

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"I was talking with my caddie, and I wanted to play driver, and he said no. Instead I hit five-wood a little bit left. But it was the perfect distance for my 60 degree wedge, so that made it easy.

“It was so much fun. It was my third European Tour event in three years so I was a little bit nervous this morning. But I started well and I made some putts.”

Five players, the Spanish duo of Pep Angles and Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, France’s Frederic Lacroix, the SA pair of Dylan Frittelli and Hennie du Plessis, were tied on four-under 67. SA’s Zander Lombard and Italy’s Lorenzo Scalise were tied on the same score with one hole remaining.

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African News Agency (ANA)

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