Williams on song at Alfred Dunhill Championship

HARARE - Zimbabwean golfer Mark Williams’ first round 67 tore apart the form book at the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa yesterday and cast him amongst the leading pack.

The five-under-par opening round, just three shots shy of leader Christiaan Basson essentially makes Williams a dark horse for the lucrative co-sanctioned event that carries a prize fund of €1 500 000.

With one eagle, six birdies and three dropped shots, Williams is in a share of second round pushing into the shade defending champion Branden Grace and three-time winner Charl Schwartzel.

The 31-year-old who has struggled for form recently, save for being runner up twice on the Sunshine Tour this year, started his accession at the pre-qualifier on Tuesday.

On that day Williams shot a brilliant 10-under-par 62 to claim the first of the 10 places on offer.

It was an exceptional performance from the 31-year-old who blazed around the 6 504-meter track with just one bogey on the card against nine birdies and an eagle to lead the field by three shots.

“It’s been a good year for me so far and I played nicely over the winter period. I had a couple of bad finishes coming into this, but shot 62 in the pre-qualifier and that renewed my confidence,” Williams said in an interview.

“I love this golf course, and my length does help, but you still have to hit it straight. It’s nice to get the first round underway with a good start,” he said.

He quickly took to Leopard Creek yesterday morning, despite having had little free time in Limpopo Province.

“I had a bit of a dream start,” said Williams.

“I parred the first three holes and then holed my second shot on the fourth. I followed it up with two birdies a hole later and that helped me get to four-under pretty quickly.

“I had a couple of bumps in the road and dropped at eight and 10, but I came back nicely and had an awesome finish.

“I made three great putts to end off — a par save on 16 and then birdie putts on 17 and 18,” he added.

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