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Perfect start for Jaidee
Last updated: 10th January 2013
Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee made the most of the adverse conditions to take a three-shot lead after round one of the Volvo Golf Champions.
Jaidee excelled at the Durban Country Club in what was his first visit to South Africa, posting a superb seven-under-par 65 amid strong winds to hold a three-stroke advantage over local stars Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuisen, who both opened with 68s.
Seven players follow a shot further back on three under in a tie for fourth place - Jeev Milkha Singh, Danny Willett, Richie Ramsay, Jamie Donaldson, Paul Lawrie, Scott Jamieson and Thomas Bjorn.
Ireland's Padraig Harrington, England's Robert Rock and Italian Francesco Molinari were among those on two under, five shots back.
The day belonged to Jaidee, however, who carded five birdies on the front nine and three more on the back, with his solitary bogey of the day coming at the par-four 17th.
"I'm very happy with that," said Jaidee.
"I enjoy the course. You have to think a lot - I hit the driver on only two holes and I put a three-iron in my bag only 15 minutes before we teed off."
Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey was set to finish up top with the leaders before two double bogeys at the 16th and 18th saw him drop right back down to level par.
Hoey came up with an unusual explanation for his bad finish.
"I felt so bloated," said the former British Amateur Champion.
"I drank so much yesterday (when it was much hotter) and did the same, but I lost so much concentration. It was weird - I couldn't swing it properly."
Els, meanwhile, was satisfied enough with his own round, which mixed seven birdies with a bogey and a double, but a booming 419-yard drive from playing partner Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium still had him buzzing after his round.
"I've been coming here since 1986 I think and I've never seen a ball there, nobody has," Els said.
"They should put a plaque down. I was coming from a different zip code. And I've got to compete against these animals!"
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which this week hosts the Nelson Mandela Championship for the first time, boasts two unique Championship golf courses.
the annual venue for the Nedbank Golf Challenge is ranked in the top 60 in the world and in the top two in South Africa.
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