Daniel van Tonder holds the first round lead for the second consecutive week after carding a six under par round of 66 in testing conditions at the RAM Cape Town Open.
The South African, who recorded a top ten finish at the European Challenge Tour season opening Limpopo Championship, recorded three birdies and an eagle during a stunning five hole stretch on the back nine at King David Mowbray Golf Club to leap into contention in the ‘Mother City’.
He will head into the second round with a one-shot advantage over Englishman Toby Tree, who defied strong winds at King David Mowbray Golf Club to card an eagle and four birdies in an opening five under par round of 67.
“I’m really pleased to go out and shoot that score in these conditions,” van Tonder said. “I’ve been playing well for a while and I tend to play well in difficult conditions, so I’m happy for this wind to keep coming.
“My game came together really well today. The greens are really small out here so if you miss one your short game needs to be sharp and I managed to recover nicely today, as well as hitting the ball solid.
“I’ve been happy with my form for a while now, but I really want to go out there and get a win. This is one of the biggest events on the Tour for us and we wait all year for this stretch of events, so it is a good time to be in form and hopefully I can go out there and win it.”
JC Ritchie, who secured his maiden Challenge Tour victory at the opening event on the Road to Mallorca last week, is two shots off the pace as he goes in search of his third consecutive Sunshine Tour title at the co-sanctioned event. He sits at four under par alongside Frenchman Damien Perrier, with Italian Aron Zemmer, and Englishmen Mitch Waite and Harry Ellis one shot further back.
Royal Cape Golf Club proved by far the more difficult of the two co-host venues on day one, with a two under par round of 70 the lowest score recorded at the ten-time South African Open host venue.
Van Tonder will continue his title bid at 7:10am local time at Royal Cape tomorrow, with the 204-player field playing one round at each of the two venues before the top 60 and ties progress through to the weekend at Royal Cape Golf Club.