Small changes see Zander into Simola contention

3rd November 2017 | Sunshine Tour

Small changes see Zander into Simola contention

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It was a frustrating season on the European Tour for Zander Lombard, with 12 missed cuts contrasting starkly with his near miss when coming second in the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily in May.

He also came fifth in the Porsche European Open in July, but he closed out the season with a share of 36th in the Andalucía Valderrama Masters last month after three consecutive missed cuts.

So he was very pleased to fire a seven-under-par 65 to open his challenge in this week’s R750,000 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final at Simola Golf and Country Estate, one off the pace set by first-round leader Jaco Prinsloo.

“I’ve been working on a few things over the last few months,” he said. “Coming off the end of my season on the European Tour, I started finding what I really needed to work on. It seems to be paying off and it’s nice to see the results from all the hard work.

“It’s nothing specific, really, just a few little one-percenters I’m trying to get right. I wasn’t doing anything bad, but I just didn’t seem to be scoring and it’s nice to see it all come together.”

It came together pretty spectacularly on his opening nine as he rapidly racked up seven birdies to turn in 29. That set up thoughts of a really low score, given that a few players had carded four-under 32 on the back nine at that point already in the first round.

But, unfortunately, things slowed down for Lombard. “I just sort of hit the brakes on the back nine, but I played really well for that level-par coming home. I just didn’t quite make the putts I made on the front nine. On the front, six of the seven birdies were inside five or six feet, and I was lucky to make all of them – it was just one of those nines.”

If he keeps up with that kind of play, he’s going to realise the potential he showed when he finished second behind Haydn Porteous Joburg Open win last year and gain his first victory on the Sunshine Tour.

He’s currently a lowly 123rd on the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit, and he knows he’s got work to do to climb in those rankings. But things are coming right. “I’m very pleased. I hit the ball phenomenally today, I putted well, did everything well,” he said.

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