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Anne Photograp News 2024

Patient Ahlers leads the charge in FBC Zim Open
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Patient Ahlers leads the charge in FBC Zim Open

Jaco Ahlers © Sunshine Tour

Jaco Ahlers has admitted some frustration with how his 2024 has gone so far, but the 41-year-old put all that aside on Thursday as he romped around the Royal Harare Golf Club at seven under par to grab the lead after the match. first round of the FBC Zim Open.

Ahlers started the year with three points missed in his first four events split between the Sunshine and Asian tours, but a second-place finish in March in the Stella Artois Championship, finishing just one stroke behind winner Heinrich Bruiners in Dainfern, meant a change in the situation. fortunes.

He has since finished tied for 10th at the Saudi Open and tied for 13th in the Waterfall City Tournament of Champions powered by Attacq at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington’s East Course last weekend.

On Thursday, Ahlers was in sublime form as he started his 2024/25 Sunshine Tour campaign in unbridled fashion on the 10th hole, turning in three consecutive birdies to set up his brilliant round of 65.

He nailed another shot at the par-four 17th and then scored the par-five third hole. Although the world number 354 then made bogey on the fourth hole, he sealed a one-stroke lead with birdies on the seventh and eighth holes.

‘NOT AS GOOD AS I WANT’

“It’s always fun to start that way, especially on the back nine here at Royal Harare, which is more difficult, especially the greens, which are all elevated,” Ahlers said.

“It’s difficult to play in the middle of the year because I also play on the Asian Tour which runs from January to December. This year hasn’t been as good as I would have liked, but you just have to go from there and today was a step in the right direction.

“Royal Harare suits me well, it is an old-fashioned course with large trees and doglegs. The only way to play it is to be patient and not too aggressive,” said Ahlers, who finished second at the FBC Zim Open last year and fourth in 2022.

The highlight of Ahlers’ round came when he took advantage of a good drive on the 475-yard third hole and sent a scorching six-iron to within six feet of the hole and sank the putt at eagle.

Michael Hollick is alone in second place at six under par after a 66 on Thursday. The Mount Edgecombe golfer reached the turn at one under, but blasted through the back nine in just 31 strokes, with three consecutive birdies from the 11th hole, and further gains at the 16th and 18th holes.

There is a strong chasing pack of five golfers at five under par, consisting of seasoned winners Jacques Blaauw and Darren Fichardt, Zimbabwe’s own Scott Vincent, the experienced Anthony Michael and former university golfer Jason Roets of the University of North Texas.

SCORES:

-7 -Jaco Ahlers

-6 – Michael Hollick

-5 – Anthony Michael, Scott Vincent, Jacques Blaauw, Darren Fichardt, Jason Roets

-4 – Combrinck Smit, MJ Viljoen, Doug McGuigan

-3 – James Mack, Herman Loubser, Warwick Purchase, JC Ritchie, Madalitso Muthiya

-2 – Louis Albertse, Conner Mackenzie, Kyle Barker, Jovan Rebula, Quintin Wilsnach, Martin Vorster, Jaco Van Zyl, Kyle De Beer, Yurav Premlall, Thanda Mavundla, Benjamin Follett-Smith, Adam Breen

-1 – Njoroge Kibugu, Dylan O’Leary, Ethan Smith, Gerhard Pepler, Daniel van Tonder, Kieran Vincent, Dylan Mostert, Alex Haindl, Mathew Bramford, Samuel Simpson, Nick Cunningham, Irvin Mazibuko, Biggie Chibvuri, Christiaan Basson, Danie Van Niekerk, Ricky Hendler, Keagan Thomas, Fredrik From, Trevor Mahoney