Daniel van Tonder’s incredible run of form on the Tour shows no signs of abating as the Johannesburg professional finished Wednesday’s first round of the Investec Royal Swazi Open in a familiar position – at the top of the leaderboard.
He scored 15 points at the Gary Player Country Club under the modified stableford scoring system used for this tournament, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
Van Tonder’s nearest challenger is Estiaan Conradie on 14 points, while Cameron Moralee and Keith Horne are tied third on 11.
Hitting fairways and greens is a big part of Van Tonder’s current success – but so is listening to his wife and caddie Abi.
‘That’s the secret. Listening to Abi. She’s spot on with the club selection, and I just trust that,’ said Van Tonder.
‘The course is in great condition. The rough is up and the greens are perfect. I just focused on hitting fairways and greens and making putts.’
Van Tonder is also relishing the typically impressive condition of this iconic golf course.
‘With a course this good you can make so many birdies from anywhere. And on these greens, even if you have a 40-metre putt you have a chance of making it if you just get it on the right line.’
Van Tonder came out of the hard lockdown and wasted no time establishing himself as the hottest golfer on the Sunshine Tour.
He won three of the five tournaments on the Rise-Up Series that marked the official restart of the Sunshine Tour’s calendar. And now he’s hunting a fourth victory this year. His timing couldn’t be better with the announcement of the three European Tour co-sanctioned tournaments of the Joburg Open, Alfred Dunhill Championship and South African Open at the end of November and the beginning of December.
‘It feels like I can go out and win any tournament at the moment. I’m very happy there’s a few co-sanctioned events coming up. I’ll give myself chances there and hopefully I can take them.
‘You know, there were a few struggles out there today. A few double-bogeys and bogeys that made me feel like I was last on the leaderboard at one point. But on the last hole Abi said, “Just make eagle and get it over with”,’ he added.