Madalitso Muthiya of Zambia reaped the rewards of some hard work during a long break in action on the Sunshine Tour as he carded a seven-under-par 63 on Thursday to grab a two-stroke edge after the first round of the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
Starting his round on the 10th hole of the 5,807-metre (6,351-yard) par-70 course, he made eight birdies and just one dropped shot as he finished clear of Ockie Strydom, Bryce Easton and Christiaan Bezuidenhout.
“After the long break, I didn’t know what to expect,” said Muthiya, “but I’ve been putting in some work, and to start off with a 63 is obviously a good thing.”
He got it going early with a birdie on his first hole. He made his second two holes later on the 12th, and another on the 16th enabled him to turn in three-under-par 32. “I hit three great shots on that first hole,” he said. “It was a good tee shot and second shot and then I made a good putt. I was just looking forward to playing.”
He got the course presented to him under blue skies and with no wind after the past few days of stormy weather which has wracked the country. “I’ve never played this course under such benign conditions,” he said. “I was expecting the worst after having one day of the pro-ams cancelled, so having it like it was today was a bonus.”
Kevin Rundle made a run at the lead in the afternoon field, making six birdies in eight holes around the turn after he teed off on the 10th and getting it to seven-under-par through 15 holes, but a bogey on the seventh and a double on the eighth put paid to his charge.
Of the three players in second, Bezuidenhout was the most impressive, as he went around without dropping a shot. Strydom made three bogeys in his 65, and Easton had bogeys on the 14th and 16th.
For Muthiya, another good round will take him closer to a maiden Sunshine Tour victory. “I’ve been playing well enough for the last couple of years on the tour,” he said. “I feel I’m doing the right thing. I’ve just got to keep doing that and hopefully I can get a win.”
63 – Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM)
65 – Ockie Strydom (RSA), Bryce Easton (RSA), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (RSA)
66 – Jean Hugo (RSA), Vaughn Groenewald (RSA), Theunis Spangenberg (RSA), Kevin Rundle (RSA), Stephen Ferreira (POR)
67 – Werner van Niekerk (RSA), Ryan Cairns (ZIM), Teaghan Gauche (RSA), Keenan Davidse (RSA)