South Africa takes lead in Golf Championship

Zambia open golf tournament

SOUTH Africa’s Martin du Toit yesterday took an overnight lead in the Zambia Sugar Open Golf Championship sinking nine birdies on his way to carding seven under on a day Zambian golfers, including Madalitso Muthiya, struggled.
Patrick Mwendapole was the best performing Zambian, carding one under, while Muthiya got a par and Kangwine Chiluba was two over at the Lusaka Golf Club.
Defending champion Justin Harding also from South Africa had a difficult game settling for a par.
Du Toit shot 66 in the first round and is now among the favourites to win the trophy.
Desne van den Berg, also of South Africa, who is making his debut in the Zambia Open Golf Championship, had looked set to take an early lead when he shot an impressive first-round 67 but was dethroned by du Toit going at the close of round one.
“First of all it’s my wife’s birthday today, and this round is for her,” du Toit said. “Everything went my way today, especially with the putter, and I hope to keep it going through the week.”
“I made nine birdies today,” a delighted du Toit said.
“I’ve been reading this book that Gio Valiante wrote called Golf Flow, and I’ve been trying a few things from it that are clearly working. I didn’t even realise what score I was shooting!” said du Poit.
Van den Berg is tied in the second position with former champion Adilson da Silva of Brazil, who also had six under.
“I played well today, especially on the front nine.  It’s good to have this experience at a tournament like the Zambia Open,” the 23-year-old van den Berg said at the end of his round.
Ultrich van den Berg, Jacques Blaauw, Alexander Haindi, former winner Doug MacGuigan and Tangoona Charamba of Zimbabwe were tied in the third position after they all shot 69.
At three under were Jacobus Coetzee, Carel Ferreira, Hendrik Buhrmann, James Kamte, Lindani Ndwandwe, Tyrone Mordit and Michael Hough all with shots of 70.
Mwendapole is tied with 21 others who shot 72.  The Chilanga Golf Club professional made just one birdie and felt that he could have scored much lower.
“On the front nine I hit eight greens in regulation and thought I could nail some putts, but I struggled to score. I am not surprised to be shooting one-under, and I think it could even get better,” he said.
“It’s always a pleasure to play on home soil, and we all come to this tournament to win. I am trying my level best to take a top-five finish, so we’ll have to wait and see what the week brings.”
Muthiya, who attracted the biggest following on the first day, struggled and he finished one over.
The United States of America-based Zambian missed a seemingly easy birdie putts on holes one, two and three.
He recovered quickly to get a birdie on hole five but had bogies on most of the subsequent holes before finishing with a flourish.
“Putting is the strongest part of my game but I was hitting the ball a little bit too hard and I missed a lot of opportunities,” Muthiya said.