THEUNIS Spangenberg of Kalahari Golf and Hunting Club in South Africa fired a course record-setting 10-under 62 to put him in command of the US$250,000-rich Mopani Copper Mines Zambia Open Golf Championship after the opening round at the Nkana Golf Club in Kitwe yesterday.
And Dayne Moore was Zambia’s best performer in the opening round after firing three-under 69 to stay in joint 10th place.
Seven birdies, four coming on the front course, and two eagles gave Spangenberg a commanding lead as he is three strokes ahead of compatriots Jacques Kruyswijk and Wallie Coetsee, who are tied in second place.
“I had 22 putts today and that made all the difference, but I also hit the ball fairly straight and stayed calm. It’s nice to be playing well and now I need to keep it going,” he said.
The 31-year-old started on the back nine and realised he was going low when he chipped in for an eagle off the greens at the 17th. The scoring did not stop as he went on to reach the clubhouse on 10-under-par, three shots clear of Coetsee and Kruyswijk.
Kruyswijk, 21, cruised through the front nine in 30 strokes to stand head-and-shoulder above the early tee field and was two shots clear of Lyle Rowe.
Defending champion Adilson da Silva had a disappointing show, closing on two-under-70 on the day.
“It’s good but …I did not hit the ball greatly today. I did not concentrate today, I did not know why but I think I can still go low on the scores.”
Doug Harding is two strokes better in 10th place on four-under 68 while McGuigan is one-over 73 in position 70.
And Moore admitted having a rough day on the tricky and tight fairway after shooting a three-under 69.
“It was tough all day. The wind blew a bit and I think that’s why I played well although I made three drop shots…silly drop shots,” Moore said after completing his 18 holes.
Moore hopes to maintain his play or even score better in today’s round which will determine who drops out of the competition.
Patrick Mwendapole sunk five birdies and blew off his points with two bogeys and double bogey on the back nine to close on one-under 71 but is still content with his play.
United States-based Madalitso Muthiya, who fired an impressive five-under 68 during the Airtel Zambia/Samsung Zambia Pro-Am on Tuesday, struggled with a putt on the green that saw him post four-over 76.
Bube Simutela retired from the competition with a shoulder injury while Tristan Bryce was disqualified for incorrect scoring.
Top 10 after the first round:
1 – Theunis Spangenberg (RSA) -10 62
2 – Jacques Kruyswijk (RSA) -7 65
3 – Wallie Coetsee (RSA) -7 65
4 – Lyle Rowe (RSA) -5 67
5 – Jared Harvey (RSA) -5 67
6 – T I Mazibuko (RSA) -4 68
7 – Erik van Rooyen (RSA) -4 68
8 – Justin Harding (RSA) -4 68
9 – Juan Langeveld (RSA) -3 69
10 – Jaco Prinsloo (RSA) -3 69
Top five Zambians
1 – Dayne Moore -3 69
2 – Denmark Malambo +2 74
3 – Aaron Simfukwe Jr +3 75
4 – Mohamed Zulu +3 75
5 – Timothy Sondashi +4 76
Story by CHISHALA MUSONDA
Zambia Daily Mail.