Williams, Follett-Smith shine at Swazi Open

HARARE - Zimbabwean golfer Mark Williams had a good start after the first round of the Sunshine Tour’s Investec Royal Swazi Open at the Royal Swazi Spa Country Club.

Williams and South Africa’s Riekus Nortje are in second place on the leader board on 15 points and are just two points behind overnight leader Combrinck Smit, who is on 17 points.

Williams and Nortje enjoy a two-point lead over Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Follett-Smith, and the South African duo of Hennie Otto and Danny van Tonder, who are both on 13 points.

The Investec Royal Swazi Open tournament is played on a Modified Stableford points system, in which five points can be won for an eagle, two for a birdie, and a point is lost for a bogey and three for a double or worse.

Williams started his round with consecutive pars between 1 and 4 before picking up his first birdie on the front nine at the next hole.

It got better for the Zimbabwean when he shot an eagle at 8 to add five more points before completing the inward nine with another birdie on 9.

On the back nine, Williams started with a birdie on 12 before a double bogey at 14 derailed the earlier progress he had made.

The Zimbabwean, however, recovered with a birdie on the next hole and another eagle at number 17.

Otto, who was making his first start at the tournament in 15 years was pleased with the way he played yesterday.

“I haven’t been here in a long time; I haven’t been to Swaziland for over 12 or 13 years because I have been in Europe for a long time,” Otto told the Sunshine Tour website.

“I played nine holes yesterday (Wednesday) and nothing has changed to be honest so it’s always nice to get to a golf course and it’s still the same layout; the greens are still the same.

“I played well today (yesterday) but I made three silly mistakes; three bogeys but otherwise it was flawless golf.”

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