Cape Town - He stepped off the final green of his last tournament
telling his caddie that Cape Town is always good, and Jaco van Zyl braved the
strong winds to card an impressive five-under-par 67 in the opening round of
the Lion of Africa Cape Town Open.
His performance with just a single bogey on his card left
him one stroke off the morning pace set by Mark Williams in the R2m
tournament at Royal Cape Golf Club which marks the return of the Sunshine Tour
to the Mother City after an absence of 10 years.
He deposited his drive on the 18th just 50m
from the pin as he rode the south-easter to make his final birdie of the day.
“You’ve got to take what you can downwind, and hold on to whatever you’ve got
into the wind,” he laughed.
The single bogey came on the 171-metre par-three eighth.
“The wind was hard off the left, and I tried to hold it up against the breeze,”
he said, “and I missed the green left. I couldn’t get it up and down, but my
short game was really good.
“I made a lot of par-saves in the first nine holes, and I
started hitting it nicely on the back nine,” he added.
Having turned at one-under after that bogey spoiled his two
birdies, he proceeded to make four birdies on his way in to be easily the best
player in the afternoon field as the wind picked up during the day.
“I’ve been playing nicely enough for the past couple of weeks,
and to get that score in the wind and with the greens starting to get a little
bit bumpy in the afternoon, I’m really happy,” he said.
Williams went out in the morning before the wind really
picked up to its afternoon levels, and the man who won the Sunshine Big Easy
Tour Final back in September grabbed his opportunity gratefully.
“One thing I did today,” said Williams, “was every time I
made a mistake I managed to bounce back with a birdie and that always keeps
your round going. It feels like you’re going lower and lower.
“I hit the driver really well, two-iron straight, so I kept
the ball in play and that’s the most important thing. The greens are rolling
superb and the course is set up nicely, so there are a lot of fair chances. If
you don’t hit it great you’re not going to score well,” he said.
With Van Zyl one stroke behind him, a group of five players
shared third at three-under-par 69: Toto Thimba, Colin Nel, Alan McLean, Andre
Cruse and Darren Fichardt all positioned themselves nicely to take advantage of
the slightly gentler winds forecast for the second round.
For Van Zyl, who had a three-month injury break in the
middle of the year, it’s all about taking advantage of opportunities the Lion
of Africa Cape Town Open offers as a new event: “The Sunshine Tour has expanded
nicely. We’ve also got the Chase to the Investec Cup now, so there’s a lot to
play for on one of the strongest tours in the world,” he said.
Scores (RSA unless specified):
66 - Mark Williams
67 - Jaco Van Zyl
69 - Toto Thimba (Jnr), Colin Nel, Alan McLean (SCO), Andre Cruse, Darren Fichardt
70 - Louis de Jager, Andrew Georgiou, Ruan de Smidt, Christiaan Basson, Juan Langeveld, Mark Fensham, Steve Surry (ENG), Henk Alberts, Johan du Buisson, Darryn Lloyd, Chris Swanepoel, Ross Wellington
71 - Graham van der Merwe, Jake Roos, Keith Horne, Warren Abery, Daniel Greene, Wallie Coetsee, Martin du Toit, James Kamte, Dean Burmester
72 - Jack Kutumane, Heinrich Bruiners, Jared Harvey, David Hewan, Tyrone van Aswegen, Danie van Tonder, Ulrich van den Berg, Allan Versfeld, Brett Liddle, Jeff Inglis (ENG), Thomas Lovett, Stuart Clark (WAL), PH McIntyre, Matthew Carvell, Desvonde Botes, Peter Wilson (ENG), Ryan Cairns (ZIM), Francois van Vuuren, David Ryan
73 - Gary Birch Jr (GER), Jacques van Tonder, Attie Schwartzel, Langley Perrins, Michiel Bothma, Doug McGuigan, Bradford Vaughan, Drikus van der Walt, Michael du Toit, Beyers Smith, Ben Fouchee, Pieter Moolman, Keenan Davidse, James Kingston, Lyle Rowe, Titch Moore, Reggie Adams, JJ Senekal, Ryan Strauss, Francois Coetzee, Derik Ferreira, Francois Haughton
74 - Michael Hollick, Jake Redman, Tyrone Mordt, Teboho Sefatsa, Ockie Strydom, Johann Mostert, Ryan Tipping, Grant Veenstra, Steven Ferreira, Kevin Stone, Ben Mannix (ENG)
75 - Coenie Bester, Nathan Waghorn, Robert Wiederkehr (SUI), Steve Basson, Brandon Pieters, Lean Boezaart, Mark Murless, Blanche Lamprecht, Irvin Mazibuko, Brent Kirstein, Louis Calitz, Thabang Simon, Vaughn Groenewald, Albert Pistorius, Hennie Otto, Wayne Bradley, Martin Maritz, Aron Zemmer (ITA)
76 - Wynand Dingle, JG Claassen, Callie Swart, Joshua Cunliffe, Dean O'Riley, Neil Cheetham (ENG), Alan Michell, Andrew Curlewis, Riekus Nortje, Bryce Easton, Steven van Heerden, Tyrone Ferreira, Daniel Hammond, Rocky Tlhabanyane
77 - Divan Gerber, Ryan Thompson, Alpheus Kelapile, Michael Scholz, Alex Haindl, Morne Buys, Andre van Zyl
78 - Nic Henning, Grant Muller, Stuart Smith (BOT), Thabo Maseko, Johan Bekker, Omar Sandys, Peter Karmis, Anthony Michael, Merrick Bremner, Stiggy Hodgson (ENG), Jacques Blaauw, Charl Coetzee, Micky Hough (ZIM)
79 - Bennie van der Merwe, Tyrone Ryan, Hendrik Buhrmann, Lindani Ndwandwe, Allister de Kock, Chris Erasmus
80 - Adrian Ford, Sung-Moon Hohng (KOR), Stefan Malan, Brendan de Lange, Divan van den Heever
81 - Coenie Stoop, Wendell Bossenger, Dean Schoultz (ZIM), Michael Farley, George Brown
82 - Jaco Ahlers, Gregg Upton
83 - Robin Green, Benjamin Thorne
84 - Sergio Dias
89 - Johann Naude
92 - Ernest Moloi (LES)
RTD - Darren Tibshraeny