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Neil Schietekat leads with opening 62

South African Neil Schietekat fired a nine-under-par 62 to grab the first-round lead in the Joburg Open on Thursday.

Schietekat led five players by one stroke after a rain-interrupted day at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

South Africans Charl Schwartzel, winner of last week’s Africa Open, and Jbe’ Kruger were on 63 alongside British trio Darren Clarke, Simon Khan and David Lynn.

The top six all played the West Course on Thursday and are due to switch to the more challenging East Course on Friday.

The tournament co-sanctioned by the European Tour and South African Sunshine Tour will be played solely on the East on the last two days.

Schietekat’s nine-birdie round would have broken the West Course record by one shot but for the fact placing was allowed on the wet fairways.

“I made a lot of putts today,” said the 25-year-old who is still looking for his first win since joining the Sunshine Tour in 2006.

“You know when you think you’ve hit a good approach shot but you’d take par? Well, all of a sudden, I’ve got a great line (on my putts), great pace, great everything and it goes in the middle of the hole.”

European money-list leader Schwartzel could have held the outright lead himself but for a double-bogey six at the 12th.

“I had made seven birdies in a row and pretty much felt unstoppable and then got a little bit greedy with my first putt (on 12),” he said.

“I left myself about two and a half feet down the hill and all of a sudden I had four-putted.”



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