Jaco Ahlers set the pace at the KCM Zambia Open on Thursday morning after carding a four-under-par 68 to take a one shot lead over Michael Hollick, Rhys West and Jaco Prinsloo.
Ahlers made the most of his round on the Nchanga Golf Club layout on a difficult morning when players struggled to break par. He dropped a shot on the opening hole and another on the fifth, but added red numbers at the fourth and ninth to turn in level-par.
The 33-year-old jump-started his round with an eagle at the par-five 13th and added birdies at the 15th and 17th to come home in 32 strokes. His back nine was enough to propel him up the leader board and past the likes of Rhys West and Michael Hollick, who held the lead earlier on.
West shot a three-under-par 69, which could have been better had he not bogeyed his last hole. Hollick, meanwhile, will be ecstatic after also carding a 69. The 29-year-old arrived in Zambia on the back of three missed cuts in a row.
The Mount Edgecombe Country Club member has endured a tough season with seven missed cuts and one withdrawal in 11 events. He will be hoping to improve on his season’s best finish of a tied 65th at Zambia Sugar Open earlier this year.
Local amateur Matengele Kaira made an impression on the first morning with a one-under-par 71 and shared 10th position. He was also the leading Zambian in the clubhouse and one of only 19 players break par in the morning.