Dylan Mostert’s fine recent form continued on day one of the 2023 Magical Kenya Open, as he fired an opening 64 to share the lead with John Catlin.
South African Mostert won his maiden European Challenge Tour title at the Nelson Mandela Bay Championship on home soil two weeks ago, and he impressed once again on Thursday as he kicked off a run of three successive DP World Tour starts, setting the early target courtesy of a brilliant birdie blitz.
Starting from the 10th tee, Mostert picked up five shots on the front nine before making three more gains after the turn.
The 24-year-old’s only blemish came at the ninth — his last hole of the day — as he missed his tricky par putt there to head into the clubhouse on seven under par.
He was soon joined at that mark by fellow morning starter Catlin, with the American carding an eagle and five birdies in his flawless first-round effort.
Wil Besseling and Pierre Pineau sat in a tie for third on six-under, with Gavin Green, Borja Virto, Tom Murray, Nick Bachem and Casey Jarvis another shot back in joint-fifth.
Mostert said: “I’m very pleased. I played very solid today, kept the momentum going throughout the round.
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“Made some good putts, hit a lot of greens.
“The greens are small, so if you’re hitting greens you’re going to have a lot of chances. I managed to make a few putts, I’ll just keep doing the same thing. I’m excited for tomorrow.
“The greens are quite soft in the morning, they definitely firm up throughout the day. As soon as the wind picks up and the heat gets up they firm up and get faster, much tougher. It’s definitely an advantage to play early in the morning.
“I’m just grateful to be here, I got an invite. It fits nicely in my schedule and I’ll have three DP World Tour events in a row now, going to South Africa.”
Catlin added: “I feel like I left some out there on my back nine. I got off to a really hot start and just made some bad swings, I didn’t take advantage of the par fives and hit a really bad lay-up on the seventh.
“It was a good round of golf, I left a few out there for sure.
“A nice way to build some momentum. I feel like I’ve been close, just a poor swing here, misjudgement here, that’s all it takes out here.
Uganda’s Ronald Rugumayo had a day to remember as he made a hole-in-one at the par-three second.