Sunshine Tour

Walters shares Joburg lead

Justin Walters (AFP)
Justin Walters (AFP)
Johannesburg - Scots Craig Lee and Alastair Forsyth each went seven-under-par in the opening round of the Joburg Open on Thursday to top the leaderboard in the €1.3-million tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour.

In the end, Lee’s 65 on the par-72 East Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington was perhaps the better performance than Forsyth’s 64 on the par-71 West Course, coming as it did on the layout widely regarded as the tougher of the two.

The 210-man field plays a round on each of the East and West courses at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington before the cut to the top 65 players and ties, after which the remainder of the 72-hole event is played over the East Course.

The Scots shared the first round lead with South African Justin Walters and Italy’s Edoardo Molinari, with eight players crammed on six-under-par. Defending champion Richard Sterne carded a five-under-par 67 on the East Course.

“I’ve played really nice golf for that, so I’m delighted with the score that I’ve managed to put together,” said Lee, acknowledging that it was difficult to judge the relative strength of his position until the whole field had played both tracks.

“It’s really hard to figure out where you are in the field with two golf courses, and with the East being slightly tougher I feel like I’m in a good position,” he said. “If we can keep the same level of golf then we might be able to separate ourselves from the bunch.”

He had moved to seven-under by the time he reached the 15th, but a bogey on 17 put him on the back foot briefly.

“I hit driver off the tee on 17 and it was a good drive, so I had 93 metres to the pin,” he said.

“The pin was really tight to the left bunker and I hit it maybe four yards left and two yards too long, and it trickled into the bunker.”

He hit back with a birdie on 18 – itself a work of scrambling art: “Another good drive there and then I took an aggressive line with the rescue, but I didn’t quite get up to the pin and it fell into the trap,” he said.

“I didn’t play the best bunker shot and I was still short of the green, but I managed to hole it from about three metres.”

Forsyth, on the other hand, was faultless for his 64 on the West Course.

“The front nine was probably as good as I’ve played in a long time,” he said.

“I seemed to do everything right on the front, but I struggled a little on the back, where I ended up between clubs a few times.

"No dropped shots and seven birdies, so I’m never going to complain with that.”

For Walters, it helped to be drawn with Molinari, who went as low as he did.

“Eddie is such a solid player.

"You just feed off him all the time – he doesn’t really hit many bad shots, he putts it great, he does everything great,” he said.

“Certainly, when you step on the tee you know he’s going to play a good round, and if you can hang around with him you’re going to be right where you need to be.”

Like Walters, Molinari dropped just a single shot.

Amongst the players on six-under were 2011 South African Open champion Hennie Otto, George Coetzee and Graham van der Merwe playing on his home course.
Scores (RSA unless specified):
Note: West Course par 71, East Course par 72
-7 - Alastair Forsyth (SCO) 64, Justin Walters 64, Edoardo Molinari (ITA) 64, Craig Lee (SCO) 65
-6 - James Heath (ENG) 66, Hennie Otto 65, George Coetzee 65, Robert-Jan Derksen (NED) 65, Jin Jeong (KOR) 65, Danie van Tonder 65, Graham van der Merwe 65, Edouard Dubois (FRA) 65
-5 - Drikus van der Walt 66, Andy Sullivan (ENG) 66, Shaun Norris 66, Damien McGrane (IRL) 66, Tyrrell Hatton (ENG) 67, Jorge Campillo (ESP) 67, Justin Harding 66, Jean Hugo 66, Torben Baumann (GER) 66, Richard Sterne 67, Ricardo Santos (POR) 67, Gary Stal (FRA) 66
-4 - Seve Benson (ENG) 68, Scott Jamieson (SCO) 67, Robert Dinwiddie (ENG) 68, Lee Slattery (ENG) 67, Mikko Korhonen (FIN) 67, Emiliano Grillo (ARG) 68, Jbe' Kruger 68, Keenan Davidse 67, Gregory Bourdy (FRA) 68, Mark Murless 67, Brandon Stone 68, Patrik Sjoland (SWE) 68, Steven Ferreira 67, Richard Bland (ENG) 67, Steve Surry (ENG) 67, Lorenzo Gagli (ITA) 68, Jason Knutzon (USA) 67
-3 - Teboho Sefatsa 69, Daniel Im (USA) 69, David Higgins (IRL) 68, Jaco Ahlers 69, Eduardo de la Riva (ESP) 68, Anthony Wall (ENG) 69, Louis de Jager 68, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN) 68, Justin Turner 68, Andrew Marshall (ENG) 68, Dawie Van der Walt 69, Matthew Nixon (ENG) 68, Charl Schwartzel 69, Danny Willett (ENG) 69, Matthew Baldwin (ENG) 68, Colin Nel 68, Tyrone Mordt 68, Matthew Carvell 69, Michael Hollick 69, Andre Cruse 68, Tyrone Ferreira 69, Andrew Georgiou 69, Wade Ormsby(AUS) 68, Chris Paisley (ENG) 68, Byeong-hun An (KOR) 69
-2 - Louis Calitz 70, Erik van Rooyen 69, Ariel Canete (ARG) 70, Brandon Pieters 70, Alvaro Quiros (ESP) 69, Ross Fisher (ENG) 69, Robert Rock (ENG) 69, Adilson Da Silva (BRA) 69, Ulrich van den Berg 69, Peter Whiteford(SCO) 69, Tom Lewis (ENG) 69, Thomas Levet (FRA) 69, Keith Horne 69, Jaco Van Zyl 70, David Horsey (ENG) 70, Kristoffer Broberg (SWE) 69, Francesco Laporta (ITA) 69, James Kingston 70, Paul Waring (ENG) 70, Soren Hansen (DEN) 70, James Morrison (ENG) 70, Wallie Coetsee 70, Daniel Brooks (ENG) 69, Jens Dantorp (SWE) 70, Divan van den Heever 70
-1 - Tyrone Ryan 71, Gaganjeet Bhullar (IND) 71, Thomas Aiken 70, Darren Fichardt 70, Christiaan Basson 71, Simon Dyson (ENG) 70, Ryan Cairns (ZIM) 71, Bryce Easton 70, Merrick Bremner 71, Graeme Storm (ENG) 71, Phillip Price (WAL) 70, Neil Schietekat 71, Stuart Manley (WAL) 70, Sihwan Kim (KOR) 71, Heinrich Bruiners 71, Richard Finch (ENG) 71, PH McIntyre 70, Roope Kakko (FIN) 70, Mikael Lundberg(SWE) 70, John Hahn (USA) 71, Attie Schwartzel 70, Simon Wakefield (ENG) 71, Marco Crespi (ITA) 70, Adrian Otaegui (ESP) 71, Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN) 71, Daniel Greene 71
Par - Dylan Frittelli 71, Andrea Pavan (ITA) 72, Pablo Martin Benavides (ESP) 71, Toto Thimba (Jnr) 71, Andrew Curlewis 72, Jake Roos 71, Bradford Vaughan 71, Steve Webster (ENG) 71, Chris Doak (SCO) 72, Connor Arendell (USA) 72, Victor Riu (FRA) 72, Andreas Harto (DEN) 72, Oliver Bekker 71, Jacques Blaauw 72, Ross McGowan (ENG) 71, James Kamte 72, John Parry (ENG) 72, Ricardo Gonzalez (ARG) 72, David Drysdale (SCO) 71, Chris Gane (ENG) 72, Doug McGuigan 72, Johan Carlsson (SWE) 71, Chris Swanepoel 72, Dean Burmester 72, Sam Walker (ENG) 72, Ockie Strydom 72, Charl Coetzee 71, Kevin Phelan (IRL) 71, Fabrizio Zanotti (PAR) 71, Marc Warren (SCO) 72, Jared Harvey 71, Darryn Lloyd 71, Allan Versfeld 71, Magnus A Carlsson (SWE) 71, Jacques Kruyswijk 71, Oliver Fisher (ENG) 72, Alexander Levy (FRA) 71, Adrien Saddier (FRA) 72, Lindani Ndwandwe 71, Scott Henry (SCO) 71, Nacho Elvira (ESP) 72
+1 - Gregory Jacobs 72, Adam Gee (ENG) 73, Tjaart van der Walt 73, Brinson Paolini (USA) 72, Duncan Stewart (SCO) 73, Nic Henning 73, JB Hansen (DEN) 73, Warren Abery 72, Mark Williams 73, Joel Sjoholm (SWE) 73, Jack Doherty (SCO) 73, Vaughn Groenewald 72, Garth Mulroy 73, Trevor Fisher Jnr 73, Alan McLean (SCO) 73, Jamie McLeary (SCO) 72, Peter Karmis 73
+2 - Carlos Del Moral (ESP) 74, JJ Senekal 74, Desvonde Botes 74, Hendrik Buhrmann 74, Niclas Fasth (SWE) 73, Francois Calmels (FRA) 73, Callum Mowat 73, Anthony Michael 73, Brady Watt (AUS) 74, Titch Moore 74, Theunis Spangenberg 73
+3 - Ruan de Smidt 75, Thabo Maseko 75, Jamie Elson (ENG) 75, Stefan Engell Andersen (KEN) 75, Thomas Pieters (BEL) 74, Grant Muller 74, Yubin Jung 74
+4 - Mark Foster (ENG) 76, Rhys Davies (WAL) 76, Peter Lawrie (IRL) 76, Bryce Bibby 76, Estanislao Goya (ARG) 76, Lyle Rowe 76
+5 - T I Mazibuko 76, Allister de Kock 77, Sipho Bujela 76, Alex Haindl 76, Jake Redman 76, MJ Daffue 76
+6 - Martin du Toit 77
+7 - John Bele 78
+9 - Kenneth Dube 81, Ryan Strauss 81
+12 - Michiel Bothma 84

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