Zander Lombard opened with a five-under-par 67 on Thursday morning at the Diamond Country Club for an early share of third on the first day of the Lyoness Open.
The 21-year-old, who is playing on a tournament invitation, started his round on the 10th alongside Richie Ramsay and Simon Khan and outplayed the seasoned European Tour professionals by the end of the round. Ramsay slumped to a 77 while Khan battled to a 71.
Lombard started with a bogey at the 11th,which would prove to be his only dropped shot of the day, before rolling in three birdies at the 12th, 15th and 16th. His back nine (starting at the first), begun with two solid pars before back-to-back birdies propelled him up to four-under-par. He added another birdie at his 17th hole of the day (the eighth) before tapping in for par and a good opening round.
His five-under-par total puts him in a tie for third place, one shot behind second-placed Bjorn Akesson. The leaderboard remains crowded from second place downwards but Spain’s Adrian Otaegui produced the round of the morning to move two strokes clear of the chasing pack. He fired a splendid eight-under-par 64 that included eight birdies, four of them coming in his last five holes.
The other South Africans to have finished their rounds are Jean Hugo, who shot a 74, and Justin Walters, who struggled to a five-over-par 77.
There are several golfers due to tee off in the afternoon field and attempt to catch Otaegui at the top, including the likes of Jbe’ Kruger and Dean Burmester.