Johannesburg - A confident Anthony Michael shot a 68 at the Zambian Bank Open played at the Lusaka Golf Club on Thursday to head the first-round leaderboard alongside Andrew Curlewis and Chris Erasmus.
"You get a confidence boost and you can just ride it. You just have to focus on all of the good that's been happening and ride the wave.
"It's a great start. It's always nice to be up there, especially from the start. It's not good to have to fight your way back after shooting a couple over par, whereas now I've set a good mood for the event and I can just play."
The front stretch of the 6608-metre parklands course is a "nightmare nine", but Michael kept bogeys off his card and turned at one-under.
"I made one birdie and eight pars, which I felt was really good. There are tight tee shots and you really have to stay focused," he said.
The back nine has four par-fives and offers plenty of scoring opportunities.
"People hear that there are four par-fives and they think it's easy, but those holes are challenging. You really have to be sharp around here, but the greens are good - so you can score."
The Randpark Golf Club professional played alongside Madilitso Muthayi, a local golfing hero. About 50 spectators cheered the players on.
Muthayi finished the day at two-under and was outspoken about playing his home open at a course he knows very well.
"It's always fun coming back home," he said.
"It was a good start for me today, although it was a bit tough because of the weather.
"It means a lot to play in this tournament, being Zambian and having so many fond memories of junior golf here, and with my father being the club captain here. Although this is the first time I'm playing the Zambia Open as a professional at Lusaka Golf Club."
Erasmus was pleased to reach five-under in such tough conditions.
"I was hitting my driver unbelievably far and straight. I was just flushing everything. I've been putting well and hitting the ball well. You just have to focus on getting the ball on the fairways and greens," he said.
Curlewis, who teed off with the morning field, was the first to reach the clubhouse at five-under.
"It's always nice to get off to a good start," he said.
"It puts your mind in a different perspective going into the next three days, so I'm happy. Hopefully I can carry it on."
Scores: (RSA unless otherwise specified):
68 - Andrew Curlewis , Anthony Michael , Chris Erasmus
69 - JG Claassen , Doug McGuigan , Francois Coetzee , JJ Senekal , Charl Coetzee
70 - Dayne Moore (ZAM), Jacques Blaauw , Merrick Bremner , Des Terblanche , Oliver Bekker
71 - Colin Nel , David Hewan , Derick Petersen , Justin Harding , Alan Michell , Ulrich van den Berg, Madilitso Muthiya (ZAM),Matthew Carvell
72 - Drikus van der Walt , James Kamte , Daniel Greene , Ben Mannix (ENG), Christiaan Basson , Morne Buys , Jake Redman ,Andrew Georgiou , Coenie Bester
73 - David Ryan , Mark Fensham , Jake Roos , Ryan Tipping , Desvonde Botes , Danie van Tonder , Keenan Davidse ,Dean Burmester , Dean O'Riley , Graham van der Merwe , Michael du Toit , Thomas Lovett, Lindani Ndwandwe , Riekus Nortje ,Albert Pistorius , Peter Wilson (ENG), Steve Basson
74 - Andre van Zyl , Martin du Toit , Divan Gerber , Omar Sandys , Prinavin Nelson , Titch Moore , Neil Schietekat ,Lean Boezaart , Jared Harvey , Derik Ferreira , Michael Hollick , Teboho Sefatsa, Steven Ferreira
75 - Thabo Maseko , Jean Hugo , Divan van den Heever , PH McIntyre , Nyasha Muyambo (ZIM), Deo Akope (UGA), Micky Hough (ZIM),Jacques van Tonder , Louis Calitz , Bryce Easton , Mark Williams, Ryan Thompson
76 - Gary Birch Jr (GER), Kangwine Chiluba (ZAM), Ntengwa Mukosa (ZAM) (AMA), Ryan Strauss , Attie Schwartzel , Allan Versfeld , Mark Murless ,Wynand Dingle , Brendan de Lange , Daniel Hammond, Prashant Vaghela (ZAM) (Ama), Nabeel Umerji (ZIM), Patrick Mwendapole (ZAM),Johan du Buisson , Thabang Simon , Vaughn Groenewald , Tyrone Mordt , Grant Muller , Bennie van der Merwe, Ross Wellington ,Reggie Adams , Coenie Stoop
77 - Louis de Jager , Shaun Norris , Brandon Pieters , Robson Saurombe (ZIM), TC Charamba (ZIM), Grant Veenstra
78 - Pieter Moolman , Ryan Cairns (ZIM), Andre Cruse , Mohammad Rauf Mandhu (ZIM), Johan Bekker, Steven van Heerden , Fidelis Malembeka (ZAM)
79 - Roy Da Costa (POR), Allister de Kock , Theunis Spangenberg , Ruan de Smidt , Stephen Mbewe (ZAM), Dean Schoultz (ZIM), Phillip Tshuma (ZIM),Bradford Vaughan , Jack Kutumane , Akil Yousuf (ENG)
80 - Ignatius Mketekete (ZIM), Anil Shah (KEN), Denmark Mulambo (ZAM) (AMA), Kelvin Phiri (ZAM), Obed Sholoma (ZAM), Toto Thimba (Jnr), Tranos Muradzikwa (ZIM),Mohammed Zulu (ZAM), Alpheus Kelapile
81 - Melissa Nawa (ZAM), Irvin Mazibuko , Kevin Cummings (ZAM) (AMA), Vincent Kabaso (ZAM)
82 - Tyrone Ryan , Timothy Sondashi (ZAM) (AMA)
83 - Stuart Smith (BOT), Nathan Waghorn
84 - Aaron Simfukwe (ZAM)
85 - Beza Daka (ZAM), Bruce Chanda (ZAM), A Walia (ZAM) (AMA), Fred Ndhlovu (ZAM) (AMA), Elvis Sithebe
86 - Tristan Brice (ZAM) (AMA), Rajnish Sharma (ZAM) (AMA), Herman Mutawe (UGA)
91 - Kelly Munkombwe (ZAM) (AMA)