“I played with Darren two years ago and I was quite surprised that he remembered me! We had fun. He’s been a pro for over 20 years and it’s always nice to play with someone like that. They can help your game and you can learn from them,” Van Tonder said.
The 23-year-old was runner up on the 2014 Sunshine Tour Order of Merit with two victories in the season. He was pleased to get the new year off to a good start as he reached the halfway mark of the Di Data Pro-Am on seven-under-par.
“I think Darren Fichardt is leading, but the tournament is not won in two rounds, so I’m very happy with my position,” he said.
Van Tonder turned in 36 at The Links on Friday and wobbled on the back nine when he made bogeys at the 10th and 13th. His nerve held in spite of the trouble and he went on to birdie 15, 16 and 18 for a one-under-par 72.
“The front nine is about as hard as it gets and you have to be patient. Down the stretch I made three birdies out of four, and that’s the important things over the last few holes,” he said.
Joining him in a share of second was Jaco Ahlers, winner of the 2014 Lion of Africa Cape Town Open. The 32-year-old was the only player at The Links without a bogey on his card and carded 70 to reach a seven-under-par total.
“I’m getting used to scrambling around golf courses, but I would have liked to get one or two more birdies today. I’ve got another two days and we might start off this five-week stretch with bang!” he said.