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Playing on a tournament invite, Dimitrios Papadatos crafted a bogey-free 5-under-par 32-35=67 in round one of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek in South Africa, good enough for a two-shot lead over fellow morning starters David Drysdale, Pablo Larrazabal, Liam Johnston, Robert Karlsson and defending champion Brandon Stone.

The World No. 154 finished runner-up in the Australian Open last month and just missed out on gaining his card via the PGA Tour of Australasia. He also finished in 21st spot on the Challenge Tour last season, taking second place at the Bridgestone Challenge in September when opening with twin 63s. Today, he started fast with birdies at 1 and 3 before adding another par-breaker at 9 to turn in just 32. Coming home, the Aussie picked up shots at 11 and 16 although, looking at this card, he'll feel he left some shots out there after failing to birdie any of the four par 5s.
Dec 13 - 6:09 AM

There is good and bad in Danie Van Tonder's course form at Leopard Creek as he prepares to play the Alfred Dunhill Championship for a sixth time.

The South African missed the cut in 2012, 2015 and 2016 but his other two appearances at his home-soil event resulted in T15 in 2011 and T16 in 2013 and he was in the top ten with 18 holes to play each time. Other evidence we have of him performing well in these co-sanctioned events can be found from earlier this year when the 27-year-old was tied fourth in the Tshwane Open after closing 66-65. He's played the last two weeks, missing the cut at the Mauritius Open and taking T59 at the South African Open while prior to that he'd recorded back-to-back top tens on the local Sunshine Tour.
Dec 12 - 7:34 AM

Gregory Havret makes a seventh appearance at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa this week but this year after an invite.

The Frenchman finished T57 and T32 on his first two visits to Leopard Creek, missed three cuts in a row from 2012 to 2015 and took T44 last time. Despite not pulling up any trees at the Gary Player course, recent renovations which have firmed up the greens could play in his favor if he can sharpen up his iron play to previous levels. The 42-year-old does actually own a second place in this event although that was at Houghton in 2004. He was also runner-up at the 2005 South African Open. A T15 in last year's Tshwane Open shows he can still perform well in the country although he lost his card last year after finishing 135th on the Race to Dubai, hence the invite. He's still managed to play twice already on this season's RTD, finishing T39 at the Mauritius Open and missing the cut in last week's South African Open despite an opening 67.
Dec 12 - 7:16 AM

Justin Walters has plenty of experience at the Alfred Dunhill Championship and will contest his home event for the 12th time this week.

The 38-year-old South African is 6-for-11 at Leopard Creek, posting top 20s in both 2012 and 2015, and is often one to consider at the right price in these co-sanctioned events. He had a nice run of form on the European Tour over the summer and fall, taking T9 in the BMW International Open in Germany and making seven straight cuts from July to September. That was enough to secure his card but Walters' form has dipped in recent times and a halfway exit at last week's South African Open (70-72) extended his run of missed cuts to five. He's not doing too much wrong, however, so this could be a good week for him to bounce back.
Dec 12 - 6:58 AM

Christiaan Bezuidenhout failed to build on his good finish at the Mauritius Open when missing the cut in last week's South African Open but he has another chance to shine in front of his home fans when pegging it up in this week's Alfred Dunhill Championship.

After T29 at Valderrama and tied 15th in Mauritius, Bezuidenhout looked in decent shape for a good week at Randpark GC but went out at the midpoint following rounds of 71-72. He played the last edition of this event at Leopard Creek in 2016 and had three good laps, a 70 in round one, a Friday 67 and a closing 69. However, the 24-year-old ballooned to an 84 in round three, meaning he had to settle for T56. Looking at his form in local Sunshine Tour events over the last few months, Bezuidenhout has two second places and a T7 so, put all the good bits together, and he could be a decent option at a cheap price.
Dec 12 - 6:29 AM

Mikko Ilonen last contested the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 2009 but, after an eight-year gap, he returns to the Gary Player-designed Leopard Creek in South Africa this week.

The Finn played solidly enough for T35 on his one appearance there in 2009 while he's only teed it up in four more events in South African since, playing all four rounds three times. Ilonen finished 99th on the 2018 Race to Dubai despite choosing to play a lighter schedule and had his best weeks in April when T3 at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco followed by T14 at the China Open. Since a top 20 at the Irish Open in July, he's missed five of seven cuts, but he did post T32 in October's Alfred Dunhill (same sponsor as this week) Links Championship thanks mainly to a second-round 63 while he was T32 at the Australian Open on his last start so there are a few encouraging signs.
Dec 11 - 12:30 PM

Raphael Jacquelin has had some decent success in South Africa but this week he'll be seeing Leopard Creek for the first time when he contests the Alfred Dunhill Championship.

The Frenchman, a regular for many seasons on the European Tour, did play this event at Houghton back in 2004, its final year there, and finished runner-up. He's also had top fives at the South African Open and Volvo Golf Champions and took T11 at the Nedbank Golf Challenge a couple of years ago so he's performed well on various layouts in South Africa. A sweet swinger, it never surprises us when he performs strongly as he did when T10 at the Irish Open, T7 at the Portugal Masters and T17 in Mauritius last time. But during that run of results since the summer he's also missed eight cuts so 'mercurial' may be the best way to describe him. He's a risk but there is some obvious upside.
Dec 11 - 12:14 PM

Jaco Ahlers has played in the last nine editions of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek and pegs it up again this week.

The South African missed his first five cuts at the picturesque venue located on the edge of Kruger National Park but has cashed in his latest four. And to prove it's a puzzle he's now started to solve, the local man closed with 66 for T11 there last time, a clear improvement on his previous best of T43. Ahlers is a seven-time winner on the Sunshine Tour, his latest win coming earlier this year at one of its better-known events, the Dimension Data Pro-Am (Nick Price, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman, Branden Grace and Paul Lawrie are former winners). He missed the cut after a pair of 71s in the South African Open last week but was T47 in Mauritius before that and had back-to-back top fives on the Sunshine Tour in September.
Dec 11 - 11:55 AM
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