Joburg Open: Shaun Norris and Wilco Nienaber share early lead
South African duo Shaun Norris and Wilco Nienaber hold a share of the lead after a low-scoring first round at the European Tour’s Joburg Open.
The pair took advantage of the calmer morning conditions at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg to both post opening-round 63s, with Johannes Veerman recovering from an opening-hole bogey to post a seven-under 64 and join Canada’s Aaron Cockerill in a share of third.
Wales’ Rhys Enoch and England’s Richard McEvoy are both in the group two off the pace, while Christiaan Bezuidenhout – the highest-ranked player in the field – started with a three-under 69.
“Eight under is nice around any golf course and to do it here in the first round of the Joburg Open, being back home again, is great,” Nienaber said. “I haven’t played much in South Africa since I turned pro but it’s been great to be home.”
Nienaber played his first five holes in five under, before bouncing back from successive bogeys from the 15th to pick up a shot at the next and hole a 20-foot birdie at the par-four 18th.
The world No 295 made a tap-in gain at the third and repeated the feat at the par-five next after missing a five-foot eagle try – having hit a 439-yard drive to leave a wedge into the green – with Nienaber adding further birdies either side of a bogey at the eighth to set the clubhouse target.
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Norris also started on the back nine and followed an eagle at the 12th with a birdie at the 14th, before jumping up the leaderboard with three straight gains from the third and then picking up shots at the seventh and ninth.
Veerman’s final-hole birdie lifted him within one of the lead and Cockerill made a bogey-free start, with McEvoy and Enoch joined on six under by Adilson Da Silva, Benjamin Follett-Smith and Gonzalo Fernandez Castano.
Watch the Joburg Open throughout the week live on Sky Sports. Live coverage continues on Friday from 10am on Sky Sports Golf and Sky Sports Main Event.
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