Lusaka - Unusually persistent winds kept gushing all over in the first round of the Zambia Masters held at Lusaka Golf Club, but Wynand Dingle didn't care much as he shot a solid six-under-par 66 to take the lead in day one of this season-opening event.
The wind picked up quite early in the morning and it was quite evident that the round was going to be a tricky affair.
Dingle started well enough, birdieing the 10th, his first hole of the day and following that up with a par. He made a double-bogey on his third hole but that was the last of those for Dingle as he made par on the next hole. An eagle on his fifth was followed by a birdie, a par, a birdie and another par to turn in 32.
"It was not easy out there," he admitted. "It was windy but I kept it together. Over the last couple of weeks, I worked really hard on my putting and certainly paid well today. I putted nicely and I am very happy with my start. After the rains they had here the rough is up and you have to hit it straight here otherwise you get punished, so my driving was spot on today."
There's no doubt that a start like his will bring a welcomed degree of confidence going into the second round, but Dingle has set his sights a bit further than just the next round.
"I think I played nicely the last few tournaments of the last season but I have not been putting well," he noted.
"But, with the way I putted today, I can see that the work is paying off and if I continue like this, I think I will have a good season."
Lurking behind Dingle and off-pace by a single stroke was Daniel van Tonder.
He made a total of seven birdies in round one but lost some gains as he dropped a shot on either nine of the course. He made five birdies and a bogey on the front nine, admitting that the feat was his best in a long time.
"I think I played very well the first nine," Van Tonder said. "I think I went four-under there and I think that's my best round of the first nine yet. I'm quite happy about that but I played well overall; hitting it well, chipping it well and putting well, so I am happy."
He noted, however, that despite a solid showing in the opening round of the tournament he finished third in last season, he has a few other things to work on to sharpen his game.
"A few tee shots here and there," said Van Tonder of what he thought were the aspects of his game in need of some polishing.
"I hit a few bad shots today but it's not that difficult to recover. The rough is up but luckily for me with bigger arms, it's easier to get out of there," he quipped.
Stephen Ferreira was also on song on Thursday, making a single bogey en route to a four-under-par 68 first round.
He was followed closely by a dozen other players which included Stefan Engell Andersen of Kenya, last year's runner-up Jared Harvey and local hero Madalitso Muthiya on three-under 69.
66 - Wynand Dingle
67 - Daniel van Tonder
68 - Stephen Ferreira
69 - Stefan Engell Andersen, Jared Harvey, Jake Roos, Merrick Bremner, Jaco Ahlers, Lyle Rowe, Matthew Carvell, TC Charamba, Mark Williams, Madalitso Muthiya, Teaghan Gauche, Coert Groenewald
70 - Herman Loubser, Keith Horne, Christiaan Basson, Jack Harrison, Ruan de Smidt, Anthony Michael, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Kyle McClatchie, Rourke van der Spuy
71 - Tyrone Ryan, MJ Viljoen, Alex Haindl, Tyrone Ferreira, Combrinck Smit, Steve Surry, Anton Haig, Andre De Decker, Jonathan Agren, Omar Sandys, Callum Mowat, Ruan Korb, Desne Van Den Bergh, Makhetha Mazibuko, Sean Bradley
72 - Rhys Enoch, David McIntyre, Basil Wright, Jade Buitendag, Allan Versfeld, Theunis Bezuidenhout, Hennie Otto, Adilson Da Silva, Colin Nel, Andre Nel, Cody Martin, Philip Eriksson
73 - Thriston Lawrence, James Kingston, Riekus Nortje, Scott Campbell, Hennie du Plessis, JC Ritchie, JJ Senekal, Ockie Strydom, Toto Thimba, Rhys West, Lindani Ndwandwe, Andrew van der Knaap, Altaaf Bux, Damon Stephenson, Ryan Cairns, Vaughn Groenewald, Bryce Easton, Philip Geerts, Martin Rohwer, Patrick Mwendapole, Divan van den Heever, Aubrey Beckley, Keelan Africa, Roberto Lupini
74 - Matias Calderon, Justin Harding, James Kamte, Robson Chinoi, Jason Viljoen, Fredrik From, Trainos Muradzikwa, Marc Cayeux, Ulrich van den Berg, Louis de Jager, Titch Moore, Luke Jerling, Matthew Spacey, Steven Lecuyer, Stuart Smith
75 - Dayne Moore, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Jacques P de Villiers, Michael Hollick, Chris Cannon, Breyten Meyer, Jean Hugo, James Hart du Preez, Henry Mwanza, Louis Albertse, Raphael Phiri, Shankar Natarajan
76 - Bennie van der Merwe, Doug McGuigan, Jacquin Hess, Ty Capps, Estiaan Conradie, Mohammed Zulu, Sipho Bujela, Andrew Curlewis, Wallie Coetsee, Jason Smith, Michael Schutz, Mwalikwa Sondashi
77 - Erhard Lambrechts, Jason Rossiter, Duane Keun, Jaco Prinsloo, Kyle Pilgrim, Pieter Moolman, Mohammad Rauf Mandhu, Irvin Mazibuko, Sydney Wemba, Neil Schietekat, Jason Froneman
78 - Ruan Conradie, Ryan Tipping, Michael Palmer, Kelvin Phiri, Yubin Jung
79 - Brian Gondo, N.J. Arnoldi, Jake Redman, Chris Swanepoel
80 - Anil Shah, Teboho Sefatsa
81 - Aaron Simfukwe Jnr, Marthin Scheepers, Kelly Tembo, Beza Daka
82 - Denmark Mulambo
84 - Thabang Simon, Nemanja Savic, Bwembwa Chanda
85 - Tumie Motale