Sunshine Tour

Van Zyl tops leaderboard at SA Open

2016-01-07 18:59
Jaco Van Zyl (Gallo)

Johannesburg - A year ago, Jaco van Zyl wasn’t sure he could walk 18 holes.

After a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday, he found himself in the first-round lead of the BMW South African Open Championship proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni at Glendower Golf Club.

The opening round was scheduled to be completed on Friday after a storm halted play with 33 players still on the course according to the Sunshine Tour website

Van Zyl played his first round without the assistance of knee braces after surgery to both his knees in 2014, and he picked up where he left off in the 2015 season with a round filled with an eagle, six birdies and a bogey which gave him a one-stroke edge over Shaun Norris, with Keith Horne and Jbe’ Kruger sharing third on five-under.

It was a satisfying start to a tournament Van Zyl badly wants to win. “It really felt good out there today. I felt very comfortable and there was not too much rust,” he said. “It’s a very special week for South Africans, so we’re all going to try our best and stay in the mix.”

And if Van Zyl was satisfied, South African fans would have been pleased that, at the interruption, 11 of the top 19 players were South Africans: Justin Walters and Retief Goosen were on four-under, and Garth Mulroy, Branden Grace, Anthony Michael, Jacques Kruyswijk and Wallie Coetsee were all on three-under.

The scores were low on a course that made things tough for the players last year. But with a drought and a heatwave leaving the rough less punitive than it was then, there were birdies to be made for those who were careful. “It’s one of those golf courses that you go round and you think that it’s there for the taking but as soon as you let your guard down a little, it bites,” said Van Zyl. “So you’ve always got to pick your targets off the tees, pick safe targets into greens and try and hole a couple of putts.”

Horne agreed. “There are a lot of holes here where you actually learn to be a little bit defensive and take your pars on them, and then you can take on others. If you can get that right then there are a lot of birdie opportunities, you’ve just got to keep the bogeys off your card.”

Kruger believes he knows the secret to scoring around Glendower. “The first thing you have to do is hit the fairways. It’s not a very long course and there are a lot of opportunities for birdies. Today I fortunately made a few putts which gets my score to five-under.”

There’s a long way to go yet, but for Van Zyl, it’s a quest for a big title that has been started well. “If I can get my first European Tour win here, it would just be so sweet,” he said.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Quiz: Test your Rio Olympics memory!

Think you know what went on at the Rio Olympics? Prove it by tackling Sport24's ridiculously impossible yet highly addictive post-Games quiz!

 
 

Rio Olympics

GALLERY: SA's Rio Olympic medallists
As it happened: Rio Olympics - Day 17
Selecting 6 numbers turned Britain into Olympic superpower
Caster cranks up the heat in Rio semi
Vote

Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel's decision to not represent South Africa at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, citing family and schedule issues, is...

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

Follow all the action from the 2016 Rio Olympics. The highs, the lows, the tears, the smiles as the world's greatest athletes compete for gold, silver and bronze.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.