Paraguay’s Zanotti leads in 1st round of SA Open

2008-12-18 00:00

PAARL — On a strangely windstill day at Pearl Valley Golf Estates, Paraguay’s Fabrizio Zanotti found himself right at home in the sweltering heat as he posted an eight under par 64 for the first round lead in the South African Open yesterday.

Ireland’s Gareth Maybin was tied for the lead playing the difficult par-four ninth, but a double bogey there saw him finish on six under 66 and in a group of players including Rory Sabbatini and world number 10 Lee Westwood.

Ernie Els and Tim Clark both posted rounds of five under par 67 to remain a threat after day one.

Trevor Immelman had two eagles on his card for a three under par 69, while Retief Goosen opened with a 70.

And defending champion James Kingston felt he could’ve taken more advantage of the calm conditions than a level par 72.

But overall, with no wind to plague them, few players struggled to make their way around this Jack Nicklaus course in the winelands in the first round.

Only six foreigners have ever won the South African Open, the last doing so in 2000 when Swede Mathias Gronberg triumphed at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg.

But with so many near the top of the leaderboard, the foreign challenge is a strong one this year, with Westwood amongst the favourites only two strokes off the lead.

Scores after the first round of the South African Open Championship being played at the Pearl Valley Golf Estates (South African unless specified):

64 - Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR)

65 - Oskar Henningsson (SWE)

66 - Ross McGowan (ENG), Rory Sabbatini, Keith Horne, Jaco Van Zyl, Ake Nilsson (SWE), Richie Ramsay (SCO), Lee Westwood (ENG), Gareth Maybin (NIR)

67 - Simon Dyson (ENG), Ernie Els, Tim Clark, Michael Lorenzo-Vera (FRA), Darren Fichardt

68 - James Kamte, Albert Pistorius, Hennie Otto, Lee Slattery (ENG), Alessandro Tadini (ITA), David Frost, Chris Wood (ENG)

69 - Branden Grace, Carlos Del Moral (ESP), Rafael Cabrera Bello (ESP), Justin Rose (ENG), Louis Oosthuizen, Richard Finch (ENG), Trevor Immelman, Charl Schwartzel, George Coetzee, Jeppe Huldahl (DEN), Marco Ruiz (PAR), Martin Wiegele (AUT), Peter Karmis

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