Thanda cracks on in Swaziland

15_SUN_LOM_RD1E_WEBThanda Mavundla was first off at the Lombard Insurance Classic on Friday morning and he carved out an opening 63 to share second place on day one.

“I planned to go two-under, but everything was there today, so I went for it. Playing in the morning suits me, because I practice every morning. It’s the perfect time for me to shoot low numbers,” he said.

The Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School graduate has successfully pre-qualified for all but one tournament this season, and was keen to make an impression after starting the week on such a high.

“This year I’ve only missed one pre-qualifier. It’s only my rookie year on tour, so I’m very pleased with what I am doing. In the first tournaments that I played, the bigger ones earlier this year, I was very nervous, because I was playing with the big name guys that I normally see on TV. Now that it’s winter my time is coming,” said the 28-year-old.

His Friday round included 10 birdies and a second nine of 31 strokes, which helped him to make the clubhouse on nine-under-par, one shot behind leader Jared Harvey.

Mavundla fought his way into the tournament through pre-qualifying, during which he had to survive a nine-way playoff for the last five spots available.

In the first round of the R1-million tournament he came out firing and added red numbers on four of his five opening holes. He kept scoring from there, in spite of a drop at the 18th, and went on to birdie his last hole for a career-low 63.

“After making that bogey I decided to continue attacking. One the next I managed to chip it close from a greenside bunker and it got me back into the rhythm,” he said.

Dean Burmester birdied the 16th and 17th on his way to shooting 63 and joined Mavundla in a share of second place. The 2015 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open winner was pleased to get the week off to a solid start.

“It was a good day and I played nicely. I got onto the front foot and it snowballed from there. This is one of the shorter courses we play and you can expect the scores to go quite low,” he said.

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