David Higgins staged a spirited first day comeback but faces a long day at the course to make his first cut of the season at the weather-delayed Africa Open.
The Waterville man, who regained his tour card at the Q-School last year, was two over par after seven holes at East London but hit back with two birdies in the next four holes to get back to level.
High winds had forced a three hour suspension of play early in the day as balls started moving on the greens, meaning that only the morning starters completed their rounds.
They included Gareth Maybin (74), who started with an eagle three, and Damien McGrane (75), who have work to do to make the cut.
Afternoon starter Higgins still had six holes of his first round to complete when play was suspended for the day because of fading light.
At level par, he will be keen to keep going when he returns to the course at 7am today to complete his round and turn straight around for round two.
South Africa’s Jaco Van Zyl, still searching for his maiden European Tour title, carded five birdies and an eagle three on the par five 15th in a five under 66, after starting his round on the ninth hole
His only dropped shot was a bogey on the second hole, as the 33 year old opened up a two-shot clubhouse lead over Englishman John Parry.
“All I could think about over those last three holes was how much I wanted to get off the golf course,” Van Zyl said. “The wind was really, really brutal out there, especially over the front nine. It was a struggle to stand and keep your balance over your putts, so the suspension was a good call.”
Parry won during his rookie campaign in 2010, but lost his card a year later before romping to victory at Qualifying School to ensure a return to The European Tour.
He had five birdies and a bogey in his first 11 holes to join Van Zyl at the top of the leaderboard, but went in the wrong direction after the break with bogeys at the second and fourth dropping him to two under with four to play.
However he responded with birdies at the fifth and seventh to return to four under, and as a result took second in the clubhouse after signing for a 68, with Van Zyl’s compatriot Oliver Bekker one shot further back following a 69.
Playing in one of the last groups of the day Brazil’s Adilson Da Silva made a remarkable start to his round. The 41 year old had four birdies in his first five holes to sit one shot behind Parry on five under par through eight holes.
He and the remainder of the afternoon groups will resume play on Friday at 07.00hrs after fading light forced the players off the course at 18.55hrs local time.
Leading completed scores (afternoon players to finish first round on Friday at 07.00hrs)
66 J Van Zyl (RSA)
68 J Parry (ENG)
69 O Bekker (RSA)
70 B Åkesson (SWE), D Greene (RSA), G Bourdy (FRA), A Sullivan (ENG), T Van de Walt (RSA)
71 A Georgiou (RSA), T Mordt (RSA), U Van Den Berg (RSA)
72 G Mulroy (RSA), M Delpodio (ITA), C Basson (RSA), A Kaleka (FRA), L De Jager (RSA