Sunshine Tour

Santos grabs Africa Open lead

Ricardo Santos (AFP)
Ricardo Santos (AFP)
East London - Ricardo Santos has dominated in the windy afternoon conditions of round one at the Africa Open Golf Challenge, where he raced across East London Golf Club in nine-under-par 62 to claim the first round lead.

“It was a good round today. I played really solidly today and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie, and I took a lot of those chances. I’m very pleased to make a run like I did,” he said.

The 2012 Madeira Islands Open winner made the tricky winds of East London look calm as he racked up an impressive nine birdies around the George Peck-designed course.

In Madeira in 2012 he shot a nine-under-par 63 during the final round to win the event, so he was elated to shoot 62 in East London on Thursday and beat his lowest score.

“I made nine-under in Madeira to win the event, but I shot 63 there because the par was 72. Today was definitely one of my best rounds of golf so far,” said the Portuguese 31-year-old.

The only South African within the top five at the close of round one was Garth Mulroy, who shared second alongside Rhys Davies, Lucas Bjerregaard and Richard Bland, two shots behind Santos.

“I am pleased to be up there,” said Mulroy. “I played okay on my first nine, but only turned one-under. On the second nine I made a few putts and got it going. I think that on the front side of the course there are a few short par fours and with good shots you can make some easy birdies.”

Santos was confident ahead of the second round on Friday, but was determined to not get ahead of himself in the coastal conditions.

“The weather is awesome – warm, but with a breeze. If the wind blows this is a very tough course, but today if you put the ball in the fairway you had the chance to shoot a low round.

“Tomorrow I need to just enjoy another day. I’ll try my best on every shot and see what happens, because it’s difficult to follow up a low round like this with another low one,” he said.

On Thursday 126 players shot par or better, but the wind is due to pick up during the second round on Friday and Santos has certainly given himself a good cushion ahead of the next three days.

Scores:
62 - Ricardo Santos (POR)
64 - Garth Mulroy, Rhys Davies (WAL), Richard Bland (ENG), Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN)
65 - David Drysdale (SCO), Gregory Bourdy (FRA), John Hahn (USA), Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR), Brinson Paolini (USA), Merrick Bremner
66 - Heinrich Bruiners, David Horsey (ENG), Victor Riu (FRA), Darren Fichardt, Thomas Aiken, Brandon Stone, Matthew Nixon (ENG), Mark Tullo (CHI),Patrik Sjoland (SWE), Simon Wakefield (ENG), Ulrich van den Berg, James Kingston, Justin Walters, Oliver Fisher (ENG), Adam Gee (ENG),James Morrison (ENG), JJ Senekal, Marco Crespi (ITA)
67 - Damien McGrane (IRL), Anthony Michael, Shaun Norris, Lee Slattery (ENG), Jbe' Kruger, Jared Harvey, Trevor Fisher Jnr,Sam Walker (ENG), Tyrone Mordt, Jose-Filipe Lima (POR), Tjaart van der Walt, Attie Schwartzel, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND), Mark Williams
68 - Emiliano Grillo (ARG), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Keith Horne, Nacho Elvira (ESP), Wallie Coetsee, Sihwan Kim (KOR), Fredrik Andersson Hed (SWE),Ruan de Smidt, Jean Hugo, Dawie Van der Walt, Michael Hoey (NIR), Matthew Carvell, Peter Whiteford(SCO), Stuart Manley (WAL), Phillip Price (WAL)
69 - Robert Dinwiddie (ENG), James Kamte, Jake Redman, Darryn Lloyd, Teboho Sefatsa, Steve Surry (ENG), Colin Nel, Chris Swanepoel,Edouard Dubois (FRA), Daan Huizing (NED), Titch Moore, Drikus Bruyns, Adrian Otaegui (ESP), Jamie McLeary (SCO), Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM),Roope Kakko (FIN), Chris Doak (SCO), Ross McGowan (ENG), Jaco Ahlers, PH McIntyre, Neil Schietekat, Divan van den Heever,Andrew Curlewis, Bryce Easton, Craig Lee (SCO), Jaco Van Zyl, Robert Rock (ENG), Daniel Im (USA), Maximilian Kieffer (GER), Jens Dantorp (SWE),Brady Watt (AUS), Kevin Phelan (IRL), Mikael Lundberg(SWE)
70 - Eduardo de la Riva (ESP), Alan McLean (SCO), Andreas Harto (DEN), Jorge Campillo (ESP), Louis de Jager, Adrien Saddier (FRA), Soren Hansen (DEN),Thomas Pieters (BEL), Rhys West, Daniel Brooks (ENG), Jacques Blaauw, Oliver Bekker, Shiv Kapur (IND), David Higgins (IRL), Justin Harding,Connor Arendell (USA), Danie van Tonder, Lyle Rowe, Wade Ormsby(AUS)
71 - Ryan Tipping, Richard Finch (ENG), Jason Knutzon (USA), Charl Coetzee, Thabo Maseko, Alexander Levy (FRA), Ryan Cairns (ZIM),Gareth Maybin (NIR), Tyrone Ferreira, Michael Hollick, Keenan Davidse, Desvonde Botes, Francois Calmels (FRA), Alastair Forsyth (SCO),Estanislao Goya (ARG), James Heath (ENG)
72 - Matthew Baldwin (ENG), Doug McGuigan, Mikko Korhonen (FIN), Morten Orum Madsen (DEN), Duncan Stewart (SCO), Warren Abery, Dean Burmester,Simon Dyson (ENG), Martin du Toit
73 - Graham van der Merwe, Magnus A Carlsson (SWE), Lorenzo Gagli (ITA), Allan Versfeld, Erik van Rooyen, Le Roux Ferreira, Grant Veenstra,Dylan Frittelli
74 - Pablo Martin Benavides (ESP), Peter Hedblom (SWE), Neo Thubisi
75 - Jake Roos, Brett Liddle, Vaughn Groenewald
76 - Mpho Mafishe, Jack Doherty (SCO), John Parry (ENG), Hendrik Buhrmann
77 - JC Ritchie, Michiel Bothma
78 - Alex Haindl

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