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The 7,002 yard par 71 course at Apes Hill was providing a decent test with coastal winds and slick greens. Twenty-four players ended the day under-par, although for the tournament host Ian Woosnam it would be a 2 over-par round of 73.

Nine players would end the round at -1 including two-time Major winner Angel Cabrera, Simon Khan and the Legends Tour’s 2023 Rookie of the Year, Patrik Sjöland.

2005 US Open champion Michael Campbell was one of six players who got to -2 with a round of 70, there are also six players at -3 including 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel, Scott Hend and last season’s runner-up in the MCB Road to Mauritius – Adilson da Silva.

They are all chasing down a trio of players who share the lead after the opening round.

German Thomas Gögele carded a round of 67 (-4) which featured three birdies and then an eagle at the 9th, his final hole.

Thomas recorded two top-ten finishes last season and is pleased with how his 2024 campaign has begun: “Obviously it was a nice day for me. I started off so-so, not quite in the game yet – first tournament of the season.

“I holed a few putts to stick around par, then made a bogey when I hit a drive away and birdied the next hole. So, I was quite happy getting out of the first nine level par. Then I started to play really nice!

The eagle at the par 5 9th hole was his highlight of the day: “I hit a really good tee shot and then had a little nine iron in – hit that to about four feet. So, it was one of the easier eagles, I’d say.

“It’s always nice to start well. I’m sure I’m not as consistent yet as I would like to be, but I just take it as a real big, big plus today. I didn’t quite strike the ball yet the way I think I maybe could. But yeah, I’m very, very happy with how i managed myself and the way I handled my mental state. So, I’m really, really pleased that it gives me a lot of confidence.

“I’ve got certain things that I want to do when I play and sometimes you’ve managed to do them well and I did them well today, I just want to keep doing those good things over and over again. You know, maybe I get the run of the ball and a few putts go in and I can play maybe a couple of nice rounds again.”

Gögele shares the clubhouse lead after day one with two other players, including James Kingston – a three-time winner on the Legends Tour.
The South African has won once in each of the past three seasons and is looking for a strong year on the Legends Tour: “You know, we haven’t played much golf, so first time we’ve seen the golf course and if you asked me before we teed off about a 67, I would have taken it.
“The first 12 or 13 holes I kept the ball in play, gave myself a lot of chances and made a few putts. Making the turn in four-under and then to birdie 12, I felt like was a bonus today.”

Kingston had actually got deeper under par on his back nine but dropped a couple of shots on the way back in: “Disappointed in the way I finished, three putting 16 – it’s always a tough hole from the back tee there. But knocking it on the green and then three putting before not finishing great on 18 making bogey. But all in all, you know, 67 I’m quite happy with that.”

Kingston has come into this week, the new season with renewed confidence in his game and his chances of getting more wins. He won an event back home in South Africa last week, which has helped give him some momentum coming into Barbados: “It was our first event that we played for four months and I didn’t expect that! I’ve worked on a few things in my game, I went out there and hit the ball really nicely. I was pleased with the way I played, a win was just a bonus, but coming here knowing I was swinging the club half decent set me up for for hopefully a good week this week.”

The third player carding a round of 67 on day one was Peter Baker, winner of the MCB Road to Mauritius last season having claimed four tournaments along the way.
His form on the opening day, at an event hosted by his good friend Ian Woosnam, is an ominous sight for the field.
Baker was happy with his game and his score: “I holed out very well today which was the the big difference really. I think it’s a tough course because if you get out of position anywhere then it is hard to save par.
“I think I holed out really well, the five and six footers and in, I did that really well today. When I got out of position, I scrambled well.
Baker says he has been practicing hard in the off-season and is delighted that’s proven time well spent: “You’re never quite sure how it’s going to be when you get out here. Really pleased that it came together and then also delighted with my start – birdie, birdie which was fabulous.
As for Saturday’s second round, the aim for Baker is just to carry on in the same manner: “More of the same really. Just trying not to get out of position and try not to drop any shots. I think that’s a big key. There are a few birdie chances out there, but the key is really not to drop shots I think.”

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