FORMER champion Darren Fichardt shared the overnight lead of the Golden Pilsener Zimbabwe Open after carding a six-under-par 66 at Royal Harare Golf Club yesterday.
The 37 year-old Pretoria born golfer, who won the 2001 Zimbabwe Open at Chapman Golf Club was tied for the lead with Italian Aron Zemmer who also finished on six-under.
Fichardt, who came into the tournament as the highest ranked player in the field said he was happy with his start after struggling during Wednesday's Pro-Am.
"I played in the Pro-Am yesterday (Wednesday) and I made eight bogeys," said Fichardt. "So I was certainly happy with a 66 today. I haven't played for three weeks so it was a bit scrappy at the end but my putting surely hasn't forsaken me. The greens are very fast but for me it's easier to make putts when it's so fast."
Fichardt, who won the European Tour sanctioned Africa Open early this year. He also praised the Royal Harare Golf Course layout. "This golf course is once again in fantastic condition and well done to the green keepers."
While his victory at the Zimbabwe Open came at Chapman Golf Club, Fichardt said he was also confident of doing well at Royal Harare Golf Club.
"I won at Chapman but I've been really close here; when Nick Price won in 1998 was really very close," he said after nearly matching Nick Price's course record of 63.
Five South African golfers, Jared Harvey, Divan van den Heever, Charl Coetzee, Titch Moore and Mark Murless were tied for third position on four-under-par.
Talented US-based Zimbabwean amateur golfer Sean Crocker was the highest placed local golfer after carding a three-under-par 69
Zimbabwe's leading player on the Sunshine Tour, Crocker is five shots behind the leaders after carding a one-under-par 71.