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Thursday, 29 November 2018
Jaco Van Zyl  (Getty Images)
Jaco Van Zyl (Getty Images)

Jaco van Zyl finished his opening round with a flourish to set a testing clubhouse target on day one of the tri-sanctioned Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open at Anahita.

After picking up four birdies in his first 11 holes, the South African fired another at the 17th to join Frenchman Matthieu Pavon at the top of the leaderboard on five under par.

And he saved his best for last, rolling in from 15 feet for an eagle at the 18th to move to seven under and open up a two-stroke lead at the summit.

Pavon was alone in second on five under after sandwiching a single bogey between six birdies in his first-round 67.

Rourke van der Spuy, Viraj Madappa, Merrick Bremner and Jordan Smith were another shot back after signing for opening 68s, while later starters Trevor Fisher Jnr and Victor Perez were also on four under as they made their way down the stretch.

Defending champion Dylan Frittelli and Scot David Drysdale, who finished fifth at last week's season-opening Honma Hong Kong Open presented by Amundi, were among the large group on three under.

Van Zyl started brightly on Thursday, firing birdies at the first, fourth and sixth to reach the turn in 33.

After making another gain at the 11th, the 39 year old produced a spectacular birdie-eagle finish to sign for a 65.

Van Zyl was pleased to get his 2019 Race to Dubai campaign off to a flying start.

He said: "It's the first round of a new season, so it’s really nice to get off to a good, solid start. 

"I played nicely and it was a really nice finish. I was going well and then I finished birdie-eagle.

"After getting back from my injury, I’ve been at it – I think I 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."

Pavon was also pleased with his morning's work.

He said: "The end of the 2018 season was not that great so it’s good to be back here in Anahita and shoot a low one to start the year, so I’m pretty happy with that.

"I played a tournament on this course around three years ago. I really enjoyed it because I love the weather, the design.

"I’m really happy to be here and I had a nice round today so I will try to follow up on the round in the next few days."

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1KITAYAMA, KurtUSA18-20
T2S, ChikkarangappaIND18-18
T2PAVON, MatthieuFRA18-18
4HARDING, JustinRSA18-17
T5FRITTELLI, DylanRSA18-16
T5KAWAMURA, MasahiroJPN18-16

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