HARARE, Zimbabwe – Wynand Dingle continued the momentum from his best season ever on the Sunshine Tour when he opened the new campaign with a six-under-par 66 for the lead after the first round of the FBC Zimbabwe Open, the first event of the new season, at Royal Harare Golf Club on Thursday.
Boosted by his breakthrough Sunshine Tour win at the Vodacom Origins of Golf Series event at San Lameer last September, Dingle finished 16th in the 2022/23 Luna Order of Merit, a small matter of a 63-place improvement on his previous best season in 2018/19, when he finished 79th.
And back in a country he loves and where he has enjoyed success before, finishing in the top-10 in last year’s Zimbabwe Open, Dingle hit the ground running with a birdie at the par-four first hole. Although a bogey followed on the second, he birdied the fourth and then followed a wild run of three successive birdies from the seventh hole as he reached the back nine on four-under.
The 38-year-old’s back nine was more sedate, with the highlight coming on the 604-yard par-five 16th when his eagle putt disappeared like a shrew into its hole.
Peter Karmis was able to call on his considerable experience and post a five-under 67 to share second place with another seasoned pro in Neil Schietekat and Jacques P. de Villiers and Adam Breen.
“I managed my game well and I was a bit lucky at times, sinking long putts, my short game kept me alive and when I was in the rough I seemed to find gaps between the trees,” Karmis said.
“I’m playing with a lot of control at the moment, hitting the ball where I want to, which leads to a lot of confidence. And the greens are so pure here, it’s crazy how good they are, so you’re always going to make some putts.
“A good dinner and a good night’s sleep will be key to shooting low again tomorrow,” Karmis grinned.
Jovan Rebula was six-under-par through nine holes but then faded on the back nine, finishing with a 68 that left him in sixth place.