Thanda Mavundla was first off at the Lombard Insurance Classic on Friday morning and he carved out an opening 63 to share second place on day one.

“I planned to go two-under, but everything was there today, so I went for it. Playing in the morning suits me, because I practice every morning. It’s the perfect time for me to shoot low numbers,” he said.

The Vusi Ngubeni Qualifying School graduate has successfully pre-qualified for all but one tournament this season, and was keen to make an impression after starting the week on such a high.

“This year I’ve only missed one pre-qualifier. It’s only my rookie year on tour, so I’m very pleased with what I am doing. In the first tournaments that I played, the bigger ones earlier this year, I was very nervous, because I was playing with the big name guys that I normally see on TV. Now that it’s winter my time is coming,” said the 28-year-old.

His Friday round included 10 birdies and a second nine of 31 strokes, which helped him to make the clubhouse on nine-under-par, one shot behind leader Jared Harvey.

Mavundla fought his way into the tournament through pre-qualifying, during which he had to survive a nine-way playoff for the last five spots available.

In the first round of the R1-million tournament he came out firing and added red numbers on four of his five opening holes. He kept scoring from there, in spite of a drop at the 18th, and went on to birdie his last hole for a career-low 63.

“After making that bogey I decided to continue attacking. One the next I managed to chip it close from a greenside bunker and it got me back into the rhythm,” he said.

Dean Burmester birdied the 16th and 17th on his way to shooting 63 and joined Mavundla in a share of second place. The 2015 Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open winner was pleased to get the week off to a solid start.

“It was a good day and I played nicely. I got onto the front foot and it snowballed from there. This is one of the shorter courses we play and you can expect the scores to go quite low,” he said.

SCORES (RSA unless otherwise specified):

-10 - Jared Harvey

-9 - Thanda Mavundla, Dean Burmester

-7 - Ulrich van den Berg

-6 - Drikus Bruyns, Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM), Titch Moore, Andrew Curlewis, Callum Mowat, PH McIntyre, James Kamte

-5 - Rourke van der Spuy, Ockie Strydom, Wallie Coetsee, Jean Hugo, Erik van Rooyen, Rhys West

-4 - Warren Abery, Steven Ferreira

-3 - Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Christiaan Basson, Grant Muller, Le Roux Ferreira

-2 - Tyrone Ryan, Thabang Simon, Andrew Georgiou, Shaun Norris, Colin Nel, Etienne Bond

-1 - Jaco Prinsloo, Mark Murless, Michiel Bothma, Jaco Ahlers, Toto Thimba (Jnr), Daniel Hammond

Par - Teboho Sefatsa, Jeff Inglis (ENG), TC Charamba (ZIM), Werner van Niekerk, Grant Veenstra, Keith Horne, Vaughn Groenewald, Justin Harding

+1 - Wynand Dingle, Stephen Ferreira (POR), Charl Coetzee, Danie van Tonder

+2 - JeanPaul Strydom

+3 - John Bele, Desvonde Botes [12]

+4 - Morne Buys, Andre Cruse, Chris Swanepoel

Courtesy of www.sunshinetour.com