Musiwalo Nethunzwi served notice that he could be a contender with his opening round of five-under-par 67 in the R600,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Selborne Park Golf Club.
He made his first cut on the Sunshine Tour in the Polokwane Classic, finishing in a share of 43rd, and he took confidence from that performance as he made seven birdies and two bogeys to trail early leader Merrick Bremner’s other-worldly opening round by four shots.
He was also a stroke behind Neil Schietekat’s six-under-par 66, in a share of third in the clubhouse with Ulrich van den Berg, Jean Hugo and Jacques Blaauw.
“This 67 today really gives me big confidence for this week,” said Nethunzwi. “I want to finish well in this tournament.”
There was quite a bit of hype around his entry into the professional ranks of the Sunshine Tour when he earned his card through his seventh place in the 2013 Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School, and, like most rookies, he has found the going tough.
He has plied his trade on the Sunshine Big Easy Tour, with a best finish of a share of seventh in April’s event at Observatory Golf Club. And that helped his confidence a bit.
“My short game brought me this score, really,” he said. “Off the tee, I really hit the ball nicely. I only missed two fairways. I was only hitting irons off the tee, too. I didn’t hit any woods the whole day, so I was putting myself in play.”
While Nethunzwi dropped shots twice, Bremner and Schietekat were flawless: Bremner made seven birdies and an eagle two on the 267-metre par-four 18th, while Schietekat had six birdies – five on his inward nine.