Saint Francis Bay, two South Africans leaders

Matteo Manassero and Francesco Laporta have had a promising start in South Africa at the SDC Championship

by Andrea Gussoni
Saint Francis Bay, two South Africans leaders
© Getty Images Sport - Stuart Franklin / Staff

Matteo Manassero and Francesco Laporta have had a promising start in South Africa at the SDC Championship. In Saint Francis Bay, Eastern Cape, the two Italians finished the first round of the DP World Tour tournament tied for 8th place with a score of 68 (-4), trailing the leaders, South Africans Shaun Norris and Pieter Moolman, who scored 65 (-7).

The tournament is being held at the St. Francis Links course (par 72), designed by Jack Nicklaus. Manassero recorded five birdies with one bogey, while Laporta achieved an eagle, four birdies, and two bogeys.

Saint Francis Bay, results

Among the four Italians competing, Lorenzo Scalise performed well, sitting in 15th place with a score of 69 (-3), coming off an 11th place finish at the Magical Kenya Open in Nairobi.

Andrea Pavan trails behind in 71st place with a score of 73 (+1). In pursuit of the two leaders is Englishman Daniel Brown in 3rd place with a score of 66 (-6), ahead of South Africans Wilco Nienaber and Malco Mitchell, German Nich Bachem, and Scottish player Connor Syme, all tied for 4th place with a score of 67 (-5).

Both Manassero and Laporta have had success in South Africa. The 30-year-old Veneto native, Manassero, finished 5th in this year's South African Open, just ahead of Laporta, who finished 10th. The SDC Championship, serving as the seventh and penultimate stop on the International Swing, offers a prize pool of $1,500,000, with $255,000 going to the winner.

St Francis Bay (Afrikaans: St Francisbaai) is a charming holiday town situated in the Sarah Baartman District Municipality within the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, approximately an hour's drive from Gqeberha. The town has faced challenges, notably a devastating fire on November 11, 2012, which destroyed 76 homes, predominantly with thatched roofs.

The architectural character of the village area of St Francis Bay comprises predominantly white painted houses with black roofs (often thatched), situated along the canals or near the golf course. In contrast, areas such as Santareme and Port St Francis exhibit a Mediterranean architectural style.

The Kromme River, navigable for 14 km upstream, is connected to the St Francis canal system, enhancing the town's allure. The bay offers opportunities for whale watching from May to late October, while dolphins are a common sight year-round, traversing between the bays of Cape St Francis and Jeffrey's Bay.

The Cape clawless otter adds to the coastal charm, often spotted playing in the waves and rock pools around Port St Francis and Otters Landing. Bird enthusiasts will appreciate the diverse avian population, which includes over 200 species, including the rare African oystercatcher and fish eagle.

Port St Francis serves both commercial and recreational purposes, serving as a hub for the squid industry's freezing vessels and offering a quaint harbour resort village. St Francis Field, an airpark near the port, accommodates aviation enthusiasts.

Adjacent to St Francis Bay, Cape St Francis is a picturesque fishing village renowned for its surfing at Seal Point, pristine beaches, and historic lighthouse erected in 1878. Scenic walking trails traverse the rocky coastline, Irma Booysen Floral Reserve, and Cape St Francis point, connecting it to St Francis Bay.

Cape St Francis is situated 8 km from Thyspunt, which was previously identified as a potential site for South Africa's next nuclear power station. The township of Sea Vista is home to a significant portion of the local black African and coloured population.

Matteo Manassero Francesco Laporta