Jaco van Zyl (Getty Images)
Jaco Van Zyl overcame blustery conditions at East London Golf Club to shoot a six under par 66 on the first day of the Africa Open.
The winds reached such speeds that play had to be suspended for almost three hours as balls started moving on the greens: particularly at the exposed third hole.
Van Zyl was tied with John Parry on four under when European Tour Chief Referee John Paramor called the players in, but on resumption drove the green at both the fifth and sixth – both par fours – for a couple of two-putt birdies.
The South African has had 12 top-ten finishes on The European Tour but is yet to win, and had three birdies, a bogey and an eagle at the long 15th before the suspension.
England’s Parry won during his rookie campaign in 2010, but lost his card a year later before romping to victory at Qualifying School to ensure a return to The European Tour.
He had five birdies and a bogey in his first 11 holes to join Van Zyl, but went in the wrong direction after the break with bogeys at the second and fourth dropping him to two under with four to play.
Van Zyl’s compatriot Oliver Bekker was second in the clubhouse – albeit three back after a three under 69, with Daniel Greene on the same mark with five holes remaining.
Parry responded with birdies at the fifth and seventh to return to four under, and as a result took second in the clubhouse.
The afternoon starters found it difficult to make an impact on the leaderboard, although Danish rookie Andreas Hartø did manage to reach two under through seven.
Playing in one of the last groups of the day Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva, a regular on the co-sanctioning Sunshine Tour, made a remarkable start to his round.
The 41 year old had four birdies in his first five holes to draw level with Parry, and while he was unlikely to complete his round before dark, he had a great chance to challenge Van Zyl.