Lombard right at home on Gold Coast

Zander Lombard
Zander Lombard lights up Royal Pines. PIcture: GETTY IMAGES

South African Zander Lombard played the "most professional" round of his life to lead the Australian PGA Championship at Royal Pines on Thursday.

Lombard, just 20, made the best of missing extremely trying early conditions to shoot a five-under-par 67 and lead the tournament by two strokes.

He was part of an international contingent that felt right at home on the Gold Coast with the top three positions filled by visitors.

Lombard impressed even himself with a bogey-free round in tough conditions that plagued the rest of the field, including tournament drawcard Brandt Snedeker.

The world No.38 was extraordinarily seven over in the first four holes in the worst of the wild conditions and never recovered in posting a 12-over 84.

But that wind was no barrier to Lombard.

The South African said the secret behind his success was the similarities between the Gold Coast and his home in Pretoria.

“It definitely got tricky out there, some of the greens with the wind to read them and get the pace right was tough, but I think I managed well," Lombard said.

"It's definitely one of my most professional rounds, in terms of hitting the ball really good in the right areas and being able to take big mistakes off the card.

"Even when I was a little off cue, still managed to make good pars and keep fighting.”

Sitting two shots behind him at three under is Englishman Mark Foster. He experienced more of a rollercoaster round on course with his seven birdies counteracted by four bogeys.

Another South African, Dylan Frittelli, who shared a coach with Lombard when he was an amateur, is tied third alongside Victorian Ash Hall.

Golf Australian rookie squad member Todd Sinnott lit up the course to be six under after 12 holes before disaster struck in the form of water.

Graham Marsh’s redesigned course bared its teeth, with Sinnott finding the water three times in four holes resulting in three double-bogeys.

He steadied the ship on the 18th to record a birdie to close his round at one under, joined on that number by New South Welshman Adam Stephens.

Rounding out the top 10 on even par are eight players including 2015 PGA Tour of Australasia Player of the Year Matt Millar, Englishman Tom Lewis, Irishman Paul Dunne, South African Jacques Kruyswijk, Spaniard Borja Virto Astudillo and Australians Nick Cullen, Jason Scrivener and Aaron Pike.

The highlight of the day belonged to Italian Filippo Bergamaschi who recorded his first ever hole-in-one. His ace at the par-3 5th hole was the only standout in the 24-year-old’s round, as he went onto finish nine over.

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