Eagle keeps Van Zyl in touch
Jaco van Zyl (Gallo Images)
Sun City - Jaco van Zyl pulled an Eagle out of the bag in the first-round of the Nashua Golf Challenge at Sun City on Thursday.
Van Zyls's Eagle put his round into red figures, his 68 putting him one behind leader Bradford Vaughan.
Van Zyl started his round on the 10th and turned in level-par 36 after a birdie on 11 and a bogey on 17.
After a birdie and a bogey, he went for the green in two on the 550-metre fifth.
"The whole day was slow, even though I wasn't playing badly," he said. "I got tired of it and I decided to go for it, and I hit it just short, and it was not the toughest little chip. It went in."
He followed it up with consecutive birdies, and came home in 32 for his four-under as a result.
Vaughan has been in good form lately, even though you wouldn't think so to hear him talk about it.
"I didn't play unbelievably well, but I did hole a bunker shot on six, and I chipped in for birdie on the 12th, so it was a good day overall," he said.
"I'm happy with the score but I need to improve my game quite a bit."
Having finished in a share of third last week in Swaziland, any improvement is going to get him close to a victory soon.
Vaughn made just a single bogey on the fourth, and he followed it with three consecutive birdies to turn in 34.
He made three birdies in a row again from the 10th to the 12th and closed in 33 for his five-under 67.
Van Zyl was joined in a share of second by qualifier Ryan Thompson, who putted well in yet another good opening round. "I'm hoping to put together a few good ones in a row soon," he said ruefully.
On three-under par was the pair of Andrew Curlewis and Lindani Ndwandwe.
After spending two weeks in New Zealand for his brother's wedding, Curlewis came to life on his second nine after a level par first half, firing birdies at regular intervals to stay in the hunt.
Ndwandwe relied heavily on his short game which included only 23 putts to put himself in contention after his first round.
Defending champion Doug McGuigan had an up-and-down round, with five birdies, two bogeys and a double-bogey for his one-under 71.