Joburg Open First-Round Leader Tips: Zander can zoom into contention on day one

Zander Lombard can get off to a flyer
Zander Lombard can get off to a flyer

The new DP World Tour gets underway in South Africa and Dave Tindall has three each-way picks to be First Round Leader at Firethorn...

"He set out with a 65 in October's Mallorca Golf Open and, last time, carded a 66 on day one of the Dubai Championship."

Back Zander Lombard E/W @ 67.066/1

Each-way terms: 1/5 odds, 6 places

Weather forecast for Thursday: It's an overcast start on day one, with temperatures only in the 50s for the early tee-times. In the afternoon, the sun comes out and the mercury rises into the 70s. It's pretty windy too, with a constant 15mph breeze throughout the golfing day.

Look to Lombard

With the afternoon starters getting warmer conditions, I'll pick two from the p.m. wave.

First up is local man Zander Lombard, who tees off at 12:30pm SA time (two hours ahead of UK).

Lombard often pops up on leaderboards at this time of year when The Tour visits his homeland and this week's course, Firestone, is one where he's shone early.

He opened with a 64 here in the 2018 South African Open to lie fourth after day one and rounds of 69-65 in last year's Joburg Open put him fifth at halfway. He finished tied 15th in both events.

Another layer of promise comes via two recent good starts.

He set out with a 65 in October's Mallorca Golf Open and, last time, carded a 66 on day one of the Dubai Championship.

Those two efforts put him eighth and sixth respectively after 18 holes and eventual finishes of tied 26th and tied 24th show that he's in pretty decent nick.

Back Lomard to lead after R1 at 66/1.

Trust Trevor

Trevor Fisher Jnr won one of these co-sanctioned events in 2015 when capturing the Africa Open.

That's one of nine Sunshine Tour victories although, despite reaching two play-offs since, he's not added to that haul.

Such a record would put me off him on the outrights but FRL is a different matter.

Fisher Jnr is in impressive form on home turf, racking up five straight top 12s over the last few months.

Before that run started he was the first-round leader at the SunBet Challenge and his day one position in his last four starts reads 5-25-7-4.

At this venue he fired an opening 65 in the 2020 South African Open to lie in the top 10 after day one while going way back he was also in the top two after 18 holes in a local event in 2009.

There's enough evidence there to give the 12:40pm starter a whirl at 95/1.

Drysdale can deliver early

David Drysdale kept his card by the tiniest of margins when finishing in the 121st and last qualifying place on the Race to Dubai.

So I'm hoping that his sense of relief will translate into some freewheeling golf here.

The Scotsman has played a bunch of times in South Africa, racking up a series of top 10s down the years.

He's had some fast starts too and a first-round 64 on this course in 2017 put him third after day one.

His 2021 record also shows a number of low Thursday efforts. They include a 65 in the Kenya Savannah Classic played on a course, like this one, at high altitude.

More recently he blasted an opening lap of 65 in last month's Open de Espana to sit fourth on the Thursday leaderboard. And in August his first-round 64 was good enough for second place after 18 holes of the ISPS Handa World Invitational.

Drysdale is off early in the cooler temperatures at 06:50 but, come on, he's Scottish so should feel more than comfortable.

Back him for FRL at 100/1.

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