Moynihan and Hoey off the mark with two-under 70s in Cape Town

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Moynihan and Hoey off the mark with two-under 70s in Cape Town

Gavin Moynihan (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Gavin Moynihan and Michael Hoey made a splash in the morning wave as both players fired two-under par rounds of 70 to hit the ground running at the Challenge Tour’s Bain’s Whisky Cape Town Open.

The Irish pair are looking to bounce back from missed cuts at last week’s Limpopo Championship and their opening efforts should go a long way towards that after coming through a tricky first day at Royal Cape Golf Club.

For Moynihan, who’s endured a torrid time on the fairways since Covid struck last year, it was much more like it from the The Island golfer who carded two birdies in a much-welcomed bogey-free round.

Eyeing up his first four-round stint on Tour since last July’s Austrian Open, the 26-year old finds himself comfortably inside the top-20 at the time of writing and well on his way to ending that run.

Hoey, meanwhile, sits alongside Moynihan at two-under after posting three birdies and a bogey in his opening effort. Starved of game-time this term having made his first appearance of the season last week in Limpopo, the five-time European Tour winner will hope to bank four precious rounds of competitive action ahead of increasing starts over the coming weeks and months.

Jacques Blaauw’s red-hot run of putting on the back nine saw him post a six-under par round of 66 to lead after day one. The South African needed only ten putts as he came home in 32 to take a one-stroke lead into the second day ahead of countryman Tristen Strydom, Denmark’s Martin Simonsen and 22-year-old Daniel Hillier, of New Zealand, who all share second place on five under par at Royal Cape Golf Club.

Blaauw carded a bogey-free opening round in the Mother City and rode the positive momentum as he bounced back from a missed cut in last week’s Limpopo Championship.

“As of late, I haven’t been playing very well so I’m very chuffed with six under par and no bogeys as well,” he said. “I had ten putts on the back nine. I missed a couple of greens so I had to make a couple of par putts but the putter is behaving nicely and I’m enjoying these greens a hell of a lot. If you put the two together, hopefully I can keep it going, but it feels good.

“It’s all momentum. I had a pretty good par putt on 15 where I was a little bit unlucky. I had a mud ball and it shot straight left, had no shot, had to lay-up in the bunker again and then up and down with a 15-footer for par, which I was very happy about. I’m seeing the lines very well and obviously striking them good.”

Denmark’s Simonsen, who also missed the cut in Modimolle last week in the first of three co-sanctioned events with the Sunshine Tour, was pleased with how he battled the wind and rain on day one and showed the recent progress he has been making in his game.

“The weather was very unexpected,” he said. “I did not anticipate the rain at all, I didn’t bring any rain gear but it was okay on the front. It got quite windy towards 14, that was quite tough, but other than that it was a good day, I’ll take it.

“I’m very pleased. I didn’t have a great week last week so I knew my game wasn’t too far away and it was nice to see it work out today. I had nine bad holes in Limpopo but other than that I was pretty good.”

Spain’s Emilio Cuartero Blanco, Belgium’s Christopher Mivis, South African Jaco Prinsloo and Sweden’s Robin Petersson share fifth place on four under par alongside Germany’s Thomas Rosenmüller.

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