Anahita - A bit of sun, sea and sand is said to cure all manner of ills, and it certainly seems to be working for Jaco van Zyl as he opened with a seven-under-par 65 to be only one stroke off the lead after Thursday's first round of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open at the Four Seasons Golf Club in Mauritius.
Mauritius Open leaderboard - Round 1
The South African's start in this tri-sanctioned tournament is his best since his return from a wrist injury and he led for most of the round before Frenchman Victor Perez and India's S Chikkarangappa overtook him with their rounds of 64 in the afternoon.
Van Zyl finished the day in a three-way tie for second place with Japan's Masahiro Kawamura and American Kurt Kitayama.
Behind them, South Africa's Justin Harding kept up his challenge to win both the Sunshine Tour and Asian Tour Order of Merits as he chipped in on the 18th for an eagle and a round of five-under-par 67.
He currently leads the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit and is third on the Asian Tour's Habitat for Humanity money list, but with an outside chance of winning that if he has three strong weeks, starting in Mauritius.
Harding’s playing partner Ernie Els played his way to a steady three-under-par 69 on Thursday.
On a sweltering day on the island, Van Zyl took advantage of a cooler early tee-off time and opened with a birdie, finished with an eagle, and made a further four birdies and no bogeys in between.
"The early tee time was good. The course is in absolutely fantastic condition considering the amount of rain they had on Monday and Tuesday. And it's the first round of a new season, so it's really nice to get off to a good solid start," he said.
"After coming back from my injury, I think I've played six events in Europe in the latter part of the year. It feels like I'm still getting back into it, and shooting seven under in the first round is a really good feeling. The short game has been really good.
"Normally I'm a very consistent ball striker, and I've been battling with that a little bit over the last six weeks. But that's starting to come on nicely and I'm getting the distance back. I'm still hitting it fairly straight but the big difference is definitely the chipping and putting. I'm making a lot more putts than I have been."
64 - Victor Perez, Chikkarangappa S
65 - Jaco Van Zyl, Masahiro Kawamura, Kurt Kitayama
67 - Matthieu Pavon, Malcolm Kokocinski, Matthias Schwab, Lee Slattery, Alex Haindl, Justin Harding, Oliver Bekker
68 - Rourke van der Spuy, Jordan Smith, Merrick Bremner, Viraj Madappa, Philip Eriksson, Hyowon Park, Keith Horne, Paul Peterson, Travis Smyth
69 - David Drysdale, George Coetzee, Dylan Frittelli, Tyrone Ryan, Gavin Moynihan, Ajeetesh Sandhu, Berry Henson, Jens Dantorp, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Lionel Weber, Ernie Els
70 - Marcel Siem, Antoine Rozner, Christofer Blomstrand, Kim Koivu, John Catlin, Joel Girrbach, Julien Brun, Siddikur Rahman, Alvaro Quiros, Romain Langasque, Thomas Aiken, Filippo Bergamaschi, Udayan Mane, Grant Forrest, Doug McGuigan, Estiaan Conradie, Jesse Yap, Jbe' Kruger, Garth Mulroy, Jaco Ahlers, Raphael Jacquelin, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Jose-Filipe Lima, Niall Turner
71 - Stuart Manley, Pedro Figueiredo, Jean Hugo, Madalitso Muthiya, Michael Palmer, Ockie Strydom, MJ Viljoen, Anton Karlsson, Adrien Saddier, Max Schmitt, Fabrizio Zanotti, Yikeun Chang, Scott Gregory, Clement Sordet, Joachim B. Hansen, Richard Sterne, Baejong Park, Jack Harrison, Yanwei Liu, Marc Ong
72 - Mitchell Slorach, Matthew Jordan, Derick Petersen, Dawie Van der Walt, Jarin Todd, Hennie du Plessis, Bernd Wiesberger, Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, Steve Lewton, Lorenzo Gagli, Karandeep Kochhar, Jean-Paul Strydom, James Kamte, Rhys Enoch, Jake Roos, Nicolas Colsaerts, Adri Arnaus, Zander Lombard, Benjamin Hebert, Gregory Havret, Bernd Ritthammer, Junya Kameshiro, Ivan Cantero Gutierrez
73 - Casey O'Toole, Daniel van Tonder, Jack Singh Brar, Guido Migliozzi, JJ Senekal, Bowen Xiao, Oliver Wilson, Wenchong Liang, Arjun Atwal, Louis de Jager, Steve Surry, Adilson Da Silva, Liam Johnston
74 - Toto Thimba, Basil Wright, Simon Griffiths, Bryce Easton, David Lipsky, Ben Evans, Per Langfors, Vaughn Groenewald, Hennie Otto, Matias Calderon
75 - Khai Jei Low, Jared Harvey, Rhys West, Justin Walters, Keenan Davidse, Paul Harris, Lyle Rowe, Aman Raj, Marc Cayeux, Andre De Decker, Christoffer Baumann, Settee Prakongvech
76 - Jeunghun Wang, Neil Schietekat, Steven Lecuyer, Ulrich van den Berg, Samarth Dwivedi, Matteo Manassero, Gregory Bourdy, Haydn Porteous
77 - Edoardo Molinari, Kristian Krogh Johannessen, Jaco Prinsloo, Pierre Pellegrin, Khalin Joshi, Jyoti Randhawa
78 - Abdul Hadi, Shohei Hasegawa, Ruan de Smidt
79 - David Gleeson, Carlos Pigem
81 - Espen Kofstad
85 - Adriel Poonan
RTD - Himmat Rai