Jaco van Zyl during the Practice Round of the 2017 BMW SA Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 11, 2017 in Johannesburg. Picture: LUKE WALKER/GALLO IMAGES/SUNSHINE TOUR
Jaco van Zyl during the Practice Round of the 2017 BMW SA Open Championship at Glendower Golf Club on January 11, 2017 in Johannesburg. Picture: LUKE WALKER/GALLO IMAGES/SUNSHINE TOUR

SA’s Jaco van Zyl provided the undoubted highlight of morning play in the second round of the SA Open on Friday when he recorded a 16th career hole-in-one. Using a four-iron on the par-three‚ 17th hole‚ Van Zyl aced a tee shot that never looked like missing once it pitched a few yards short of the hole.

"It was just one of those perfect shots‚" Van Zyl beamed after he completed his round. "It was 204m into a little breeze off the left‚ with the flag cut back right. As a right-hander it is not ideal to have the breeze off the left. I just hit an absolutely pure four-iron nice and high. The wind drifted a little bit and it looked pretty good coming down. I’m getting on in age and I didn’t see it going in."

"I just saw the crowd go wild and I had mixed emotions because usually the cars are only up for grabs over the weekend," he said. "I only got confirmation when I got to the green." And some car it is. The BMW i8 is the company’s flagship sports car and is a technological masterpiece that has a petrol and an electric engine.

Diederik Reitsma‚ group communications general manager for BMW‚ said, "That clip of him winning the car will go all around the world. The other exciting thing is that everybody can identify with it because every golfer is capable of hitting a hole-in-one."

Although it was Van Zyl’s 16th hole-in-one he hadn’t bagged a big prize for any of them‚ until Friday. "There was a Dunhill fountain pen for a hole-in-one at the Dunhill a few years ago," he said. "I also had one at the Olympics a few months ago, and at the Nashua at the Wild Coast."

It has been quite a turnaround for the 37-year-old‚ who made an inauspicious start to the tournament on Thursday when he went four-over after just four holes. He has recovered superbly and has dropped only one shot since the opening day. On Friday he completed his round in 65 leaving him eight-under for the tournament and‚ at time of writing‚ in joint seventh place.

England’s Graeme Storm surged into the lead with a nine-under-par round that took him to 12 under. But Van Zyl is back in contention and although he is no stranger to the winner’s circle‚ he has developed the habit of relinquishing positions of real promise. "I will trade in 100 BMWs if I can get this trophy‚" he said.

TMG Digital

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