Pieters leads in East London
Brandon Pieters was the clubhouse leader after a delayed day one of the Africa Open in East London.
Brandon Pieters was the clubhouse leader after a delayed day one of the Africa Open as his seven-under-par round of 66 put him a shot clear in East London.
The South African carded eight birdies, an eagle and three bogeys to lead from a group of five players – including Englishman Miles Tunnicliff, Jean-Baptiste Gonnet of France and fellow countrymen Jaco Van Zyl and Branden Grace – on six under.
Swede Fredrik Ohlsson is the other man part of the group, although he still had one hole to play when bad light forced play to be stopped in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event.
More than 90 minutes were lost at the start of the day due to heavy mist and rain hanging over the East London Golf Club, meaning several of the afternoon tee-offs will have to complete their rounds tomorrow.
Eight players were a further shot back on five under after 68s, amongst them five Britons – Saltman brothers Elliot and Lloyd, Ross McGowan, Robert Rock and Lee Slattery.
Defending champion Charl Schwartzel and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke also made good starts to 2011, with both on four under, while 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen was a further shot behind on three under after his 70.
However, double major winner Retief Goosen had a forgettable day with five bogeys and three birdies seeing him end on a two-over-par 75.
Pieters, though, will be the man to catch in round two after the veteran local tour player put behind him an up-and-down front nine by stringing together five successive birdies on the back nine.
The 34-year-old, who started his round on the ninth, said: “I just hit three bad tee shots, but other than that I putted really good and was happy with the rest of my game.
“Seven under, if it’s leading by the end of today then that will be great, but if not, you don’t win a tournament in the first round.
“Hopefully I’m here sitting with you on Sunday afternoon.”
Ulsterman Clarke also had a good day as he bids to end a two-year winless streak by winning in South Africa.
He said: “I was a bit rusty and hit some poor shots, but hit a few decent ones as well.
“My distance control on the wedges was poor, but that was to be expected after I had a bit of a break. So all in all, I’m pretty pleased with the start.”
Clarke, who recorded a pair of eagles, two birdies and two bogeys, added: “There were a few mistakes, but I putted quite nicely. I made two silly bogeys on 13 and 14, but apart from that it was all right.”
“I holed a really nice putt on 18 after playing the perfect tee-shot and playing a bit like a dog after that.”
Romain Langasque equals course record to lead Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
The Frenchman recovered from an early bogey with two eagles and eight birdies to reach 11 under par.
Rory McIlroy bemoans ‘ugly year’ and seeks solution to divide in golf world
The arrival of Saudi-backed LIV Golf series has fractured the game in 2022.
On this day in 2014 – Europe retain Ryder Cup with Gleneagles victory
The Gleneagles victory was Europe’s eighth win in 10 matches.
‘Is this where I am going to die?’ Nicolas Colsaerts on kidney disorder battle
The Belgian is the focus of attention this week as he belatedly defends the Cazoo Open de France title he won three years ago.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe team
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Open champion Cameron Smith wins first LIV trophy in just second start
The world number two is the highest-ranked player to join the rebel series.
Robert MacIntyre beats Matt Fitzpatrick in play-off to win Italian Open
MacIntyre birdied the first extra hole at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club, the venue for next year’s Ryder Cup.
Matt Fitzpatrick holds narrow lead ahead of final round at Italian Open
Rory McIlroy and Aaron Rai are one shot off the pace.
Rory McIlroy picks up the pace to claim lead ahead of Matt Fitzpatrick in Rome
McIlroy’s group looked unlikely to complete their second rounds after taking three hours to play nine holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick leads way at Italian Open despite ‘inconsistent’ display
The US Open champion held a one-shot lead over fellow Englishman Tom Lewis,