Van Zyl leads the way
Jaco van Zyl (Gallo Images)
Kathu - Inspired by the traditional golf course designers of yesteryear, Jaco van Zyl opened with a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to lead Thursday's first round of the Vodacom Business Origins of Golf Tour at Sishen Golf Club.
Van Zyl signed for a round of five birdies and an eagle to lead by a single stroke over Kathu resident Des Terblanche, who was also his playing partner for the day.
Charl Coetzee kept up his steady form with a five-under-par 67, which is where Johannesburg professional Grant Muller also finished the round.
And a host of players ended the day on four under including Jean Hugo, who won the opening tournament on this year's Origins of golf tour earlier this month.
The par-72 Sishen golf course, cut through a 500-hectare kameeldoring forest, was one of the last designed by the legendary Robert Grimsdell, and opened for play in 1979.
Although Van Zyl has only played the course once as an amateur 15 years before this, and it has changed significantly since then, he immediately liked what he saw on Thursday.
"This is a lovely golf course. It's nice to play a traditional course like this again. It's nice to play a course where you have to think your way around and shape the ball a bit, and try and avoid certain things rather than just bombing it down the middle."
Teeing off the 10th, Van Zyl quickly made his move with an eagle on the par-five 11th followed by four birdies in five holes to the turn. But he followed this with a "slow" back nine in which he added only one more birdie.
"It was a good start. I've been getting off to a slow start the last few weeks and playing catch-up. So this week I made a point of getting focused early on in the tournament."
This is Van Zyl's second consecutive 65 following the one he posted in last week's final round of the Zimbabwe Open, which saw him finish second. Terblanche was delighted to make a good start in his hometown, and where he won the 1991 Kalahari Classic on this course.
"I must admit I was a bit jittery on the tee this morning. There's a lot of extra pressure playing in your hometown. But Jaco was playing so well that I think we just fed off each other," he said of a round which he closed off with a 25-foot birdie putt on the ninth.