ZIMBABWEAN golfer, Mark Williams’ run of good form on the Sunshine Tour this season continued when he finished the first round of the Investec Royal Swazi Open at Royal Swazi Country Club in a share for second position yesterday.
BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
Unlike the traditional 72-hole strokeplay format, the Investec Royal Swazi Open is played using a modified stableford points format in which players are awarded and deducted points for their scores relative to par on each hole.
The point’s breakdown favours aggressive golf as players are awarded eight points for an albatross, five points for an eagle, and two points for a birdie. Zero points are awarded for par, while one point is deducted for a bogey and three points are deducted for a double-bogey or worse.
Williams made just one bogey on his way around the challenging layout, which is famed for being one of the most undulating courses on the calendar.
He also made good use of the scoring opportunities after registering two birdies and an eagle on the front nine before recording two more birdies on the way home to briefly hold the clubhouse lead on 15 points.
The 33-year-old Bulawayo-born professional eventually settled for a share for second position and two shots off the lead jointly held by Daniel van Tonder and Combrinck Smit on 17 points.
Williams, who claimed his maiden win at the 2016 Vodacom Origins of Golf Final has started the new season with a bang making the cut in all the three events he has participated in so far.
He finished 35th at the season-opening Zanaco Masters, 31st at the Old Mutual Zimbabwe Open and 30th at the Mopani Redpath Zambia Open two weeks ago and looks set to be in the money again at the Investec Royal Swazi Open.
The Zimbabwean will start the second round two shots ahead of compatriot, Ben Follet-Smith, who continued from where he left off from Tuesday’s pre-qualifying round with a solid opening round perfomance.
Follet-Smith made a late charge up the leaderboard, recovering from three bogeys and a double bogey in his first four holes as his two birdies and two eagles lifted him to within four shots of the lead on 13 points.