Former Duke standout Julian Suri could be on the verge of his second European Tour win. The New York native lies just one shot off the lead in the $1.26 million Tshwane Open in South Africa’s capital Pretoria.
The 26-year-old returned an opening 7-under 65 thanks to eight birdies and just one dropped shot. He’s tied for second place with Chile’s Felipe Aguilar and South African Thomas Aiken. They trail South African Louis De Jager by one shot.
Suri is making his second start of the year following a missed cut in the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters. That performance was a bit of a setback considering he began the 2017-18 season by finishing second in the UBS Hong Kong Open in November. There were few setbacks over his opening 18 holes on Pretoria Country Club
“I’m happy with the round,” Suri said. “Lots of good signs – a sign of things to come hopefully.
“I putted really solidly today. I’ve been working a lot on it and it’s been pretty good as of late.
“I’ve been working on my swing the last couple of days since I missed the cut last week in Qatar. Actually, in the last two-and-a-half days or so, I haven’t really practiced any chipping or putting. I’ve just been grinding on the range with my caddie and it’s paid off. I’m pretty pleased with the way it’s progressed.
“There are plenty of birdies out there. The greens are so soft and they’re rolling pretty good. If you hit good putts, they should be going in.
“I hit a lot of drivers. I played really aggressively which is kind of my style. Subsequently, I had a lot of wedges in and I took advantage of a lot of them.”
Suri began last year on the Challenge Tour, where he won the D+D REAL Czech Challenge. He said goodbye to Europe’s junior circuit when he gained his main tour card by winning the Made in Denmark tournament. He had four other top-10 finishes, including three eighth-place finishes in his last four events. It helped him finish 52nd on the money list.