Round one of the championship was heavily affected by dangerous weather conditions and the players needed to be shuttled off the course on two occasions. However, Van Tonder capitalized on the softer conditions and he produced a round that was reminiscent of his two Sunshine Tour titles and Rookie of the Year accolade in 2012.
He said, “I turned three-under after my first nine and then went two-under the next. Five birdies and a few pars out there and I’m feeling good.”
Van Tonder says he’s feeling good being back in South Africa and returning to his roots has seen his change in form. “I had a bit of a dip after 2014. I travelled quite a bit last year, overseas, and it had its toll on me. After that I got back and I had to get back to my roots and find out what actually works, but it feels good to be back again.”
Adding to the fact that he has returned to his roots, Van Tonder feels just at home on the Eye of Africa layout as his home club Ebotse Links. He said, “The first time I played here was on Tuesday and it was like I was at home playing on Ebotse. This is similar to Ebotse and Copperleaf, so I’m loving it out here.”