Wiesberger holds the edge at Sun City

European Tour

A birdie at the last handed Bernd Wiesberger a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

The Austrian’s strong finish, courtesy of a pinpoint approach to the 18th, saw him sign for a five-under-par 67 on a challenging day for scoring at the Gary Player Country Club.

That was one stroke clear of local favourite Branden Grace, Scott Jamieson, Victor Dubuisson and Julian Suri.

Swede Alex Noren made a great start to his title defence, opening with a three-under-par 69 that leaves him just two strokes back alongside Charl Schwartzel, Hideto Tanihara and Graeme Storm.

A large 12-man group follows on two under, three back, including Matthew Fitzpatrick, Lee Westwood, Ross Fisher, Peter Uihlein and Li Haotong.

Leader Wiesberger is going in hunt of his second win of what has been an incredible consistent season that has seen him miss just three cuts in 24 events to sit 12th in the Race to Dubai Rankings.

The Austrian was level par through the opening nine holes after two birdies and two bogeys, but started making serious inroads with a hat-trick of gains from the 10th.

Another bogey followed at 13, but further birdies at 14 and 16 vaulted him to the top of the leaderboard, before he picked up another shot at the last to grab the solo lead.

“It wasn’t easy to be honest,” he said. “It was quite breezy, quite steady direction-wise but still the course is quite tricky off the tees. You want to get a lot of fairways to be able to attack the flags and that’s quite challenging when there’s gusty winds.

“But I played all right. I’ve not had great success when I was here last time but I approached it with a neutral mind and I played a lot better than I have the last couple of weeks and putted good. Took a couple of chances so that was nice, to get out there kind of relaxed and just let it happen.”

Comments

Latest