Jaco Prinsloo made two eagles on his way to an opening round of seven-under-par 65 in the Sunshine Tour’s FNB eSwatini Nkonyeni Challenge to top the leaderboard on Thursday, aiding him a two-stroke lead over Herman Loubser.
“I hit the ball pretty good today,” Prinsloo said. “I hit it really close for my one eagle and made a decent putt for the other. It was a case of really good putting today and good hitting, there were a couple of very good shots.
“The tour had a break of more than a month so it’s been a while since I played competitively and these are not the fastest greens, different to what we’re used to compared to winter in Johannesburg.”
Prinsloo was two-under through the first four holes thanks back a brace of birdies on the third and fourth holes. However, he gave away a shot on the fifth, and after pars on six and seven, the Serengeti Golf Estates player bounced back expertly with an eagle on eight and a birdie on nine.
Three straight pars after the turn held things together for Prinsloo as he tried to keep the big numbers from entering his scorecard. He was rewarded for his patience on the 13th, making a birdie there before finishing off with another eagle on 15 to sign for a 65.
“It’s a new course for us because we’re used to playing at the Royal Swazi Sun, but Nkonyeni is an absolute beauty, really challenging but fun in the bushveld,” said Prinsloo.
Loubser made just one bogey en route to his 67 and will feel that he can mount a serious challenge on moving day of this 54-hole event here eSwatini. Kyle McClatchie and leader of the Altron Big Easy Tour Order of Merit standings, Ricky Hendler, tied third after signing respective rounds of 68.
At three-under-par and four shots adrift, Jovan Rebula, Clinton Grobler, Lyle Rowe and CJ du Plessis share the fifth spot on the leaderboard while Hennie O’Kennedy, Heinrich Bruiners, Rhys West, Wynand Dingle and veteran Jaco van Zyl share ninth after round one.