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Golf Today > Tour Schedules > 2009 > European Tour > South African Open Championship > Round 1


Martin Erlandsson leads with opening 64

Sweden’s Martin Erlandsson shot an eight-under-par 64 to lead the South African Open first round at Pearl Valley Golf Estates on Thursday.

Erlandsson, among the early starters, carded a bogey-free round which included six birdies and an eagle at the par-five fifth hole.

In-form Spaniard Pablo Martin and South African Dawie van der Walt were one stroke behind Erlandsson after rounds of 65. Martin won the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek last weekend, the opening event of the 2010 European Tour, and the 23-year-old eagled the fifth and 18th holes as well as making five birdies.

Denmark’s Anders Hansen, the highest-ranked player in the field at world number 46, lay in fourth place after a round of 66. The 35-year-old Erlandsson has never won on the European Tour but finished runner-up in the 2009 Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles.

“My swing was actually a bit off on the range before the round,” Erlandsson told reporters. “So I tried to play very safe to start off, but then I noticed things felt better and better.

“I made some birdies and it made me feel confident, and I just let go on my back nine.” Van der Walt said it was his driving that set up his fine round.

“I basically drove it in the middle of the fairway on nearly every hole,” the 26-year-old Van der Walt. “I think I only missed two fairways and on one of those I holed my second shot.

“You can’t win the tournament on the first day but this puts me in a good position.”

Martin was the only player to eagle the tough par-five 18th. He reached the green in two and holed the putt to add a second eagle to the one he picked up at the fifth.

“18 was a very well played hole. I hit a good driver down the right hand side of the fairway, but still had 265 yards to the front of the green so I gave it everything. Then I hit a good putt which made it a very good way to finish the day.”

The South African Open is co-sanctioned by the European and Sunshine Tours.


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