HARARE, Zimbabwe – Louis Albertse will remember with fondness the first three holes of the Royal Harare Golf Club as he birdied them all en route to a superb seven-under-par 65 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open on Thursday.
The Dundee Golf Club representative also birdied holes five through seven, giving him a tremendous start of six birdies in his first seven holes.
But the back nine of the parkland course In Zimbabwe’s capital did bite back a bit, with Albertse dropping shots at the 10thand 16th holes.
The birdies also kept coming, though, with the 25-year-old making a four at the par-five 12th hole, a three at the 14th and then finishing in style with another birdie at the par-four 18th.
Herman Loubser, the winner of the Lombard Insurance Classic last weekend at Arabella, shot a 66 at nearby Chapman Golf Club, the other course being used for an historic tournament that unfortunately could not be played for the last three years, to claim second place on the first day of one of the premier African tournaments on the Sunshine Tour schedule.
Keagan Thomas and Zambia’s Madalitso Muthiya were in third place, having shot five-under-par 67s at Royal Harare.
The 121-year-old course was kinder to them on the back nine than it was to Albertse, with both Thomas and Muthiya coming home in just 33 strokes.
Albert Venter, Luca Filippi and Ryan van Velzen were all on four-under-par on a congested leaderboard, with 34 golfers shooting under-par to showcase the exciting young golf talent in Southern Africa.
Albertse challenged strongly at Arabella last weekend after shooting 66 in the first round, but his last two rounds (73, 75) did not work out quite as he had planned.
But he is obviously a young man building on the confidence of a groundbreaking 2021/22 season on the Sunshine Tour in which he finished in the top 50 on the Luno Order of Merit for the first time in his career, including a maiden victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Mount Edgecombe.