Experienced Des takes Swazi lead

On Wednesday Des Terblanche returned to Royal Swazi Golf Club, the setting for three of his previous Sunshine Tour victories, and used his experience to take early lead of the Investec Royal Swazi Sun Open.

“Today was a nice day,” he said. “I love this course. I’ve won here three times, so it obviously suits me. The course is there for the taking, you just have to stay patient on the greens and you will make a lot of birdies out there.”

The 46-year-old veteran took control on Wednesday and made a massive 20 points on the modified stableford scoring system, moving three points clear of his closest chaser, Bryce Easton.

Terblanche led by example over the 6140-metre course, penciling in a total of nine birdies during the round. His knowledge was key to his success, and he said: “In this format you have to go for it. Bogey is not disastrous, and a birdie is two points, so the more birdies you make, the better. It’s worthwhile trying to go for the putts, even if you have a chance of three-putting. If you’re going to make a few by being aggressive then it’s worthwhile.”

He topped the day off with an eagle at 17, which added five points to his tally, but his overall play was solid and it took just 64 strokes for him to finish the round. “I made an eagle out of the bunker on 17 after hitting a four-iron in. Other than that it was just the bunch of birdies that got me through. I made three bogeys, but the rest was good,” he said.

A world away, Bryce Easton played his first Royal Swazi tournament and was excited about the change in scoring format. “This whole setup is new for me, so I don’t know what’s good or not,” he said. “I felt like I made some putts and hit some good shots today, so we’ll see what 17 points does for me.

“It’s exciting to play this way. You know that the worst case scenario ends in minus-three (points), which is not the end of the world. It’s very different to play this format, and it’s a nice change.”

Terblanche’s experience gave him the edge on Wednesday, and he was confident heading into the rest of the week. “The opportunities are there,” he said. “I’m just going to go shot-for-shot and take every day as it comes.”

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