Sunshine Tour

Grace leads at Leopard Creek

Branden Grace (Gallo Images)
Branden Grace (Gallo Images)

Malelane - South Africa's Branden Grace led the way after the first round of the European Tour's Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club on Thursday with a stunning round of 62.

The 26-year-old, who won all four of his European Tour titles in 2012, grabbed 10 birdies and no bogeys as he raced three clear of the field.

"I hit the ball superbly from the start to the finish," said Grace, who almost holed his approach the 11th.

"I can't remember the last time I hit 18 greens in a row, which is pretty nice, especially around this place where there are some daunting approaches. It's a good feeling going into the rest of the tournament."

Fellow South African Jake Roos, playing his first event as a full European Tour Member, was in second place after a seven under 65, with last week's winner Danny Willett and his fellow Englishman Matt Ford tied for third on six under.

Roos took the 15th and last place available on The Race to Dubai via last season's Challenge Tour, while Ford was set to accept a job as a postman over the winter before he successfully negotiated November's Qualifying School.

The 34 year old Roos began the day by holing a five iron for an eagle two at the tenth, and birdied the last to claim the clubhouse lead on seven under par.

"I felt comfortable and swung quite nicely," said Roos.

"I hit a lot of good shots and had a lot of short birdie putts on my front nine, and I was able to take advantage of a couple.

"When I holed that shot on my first hole it was an ice-breaker for me. It got me laughing and relaxed me, so it was a perfect start. It came out right on target and pitched a little short and went in."

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, a three-time winner of this event and looking to become only the sixth European Tour player to win the same event three years running, carded a three under 69 which was matched by compatriot and fellow major champion Louis Oosthuizen.

Scores (RSA unless otherwise specified):
62 - Branden Grace
65 - Jake Roos
66 - Matt Ford (ENG), Danny Willett (ENG)
67 - Nacho Elvira (ESP), Michael Hollick, Tjaart van der Walt
68 - Craig Lee (SCO), Benjamin Hebert (FRA), Peter Lawrie (IRL), Francesco Molinari (ITA), PH McIntyre, Magnus A Carlsson (SWE), Carlos Del Moral (ESP), Kevin Stone, Shaun Norris, Scott Jamieson (SCO), Lucas Bjerregaard (DEN), Jbe' Kruger, Chris Swanepoel
69 - JJ Senekal, Stuart Manley (WAL), Louis de Jager, Louis Oosthuizen, Julien Quesne (FRA), Andrew Johnston (ENG), Adilson Da Silva (BRA), Jean Hugo, Jason Barnes (ENG), Charl Schwartzel, Soren Hansen (DEN), Christiaan Basson
70 - Borja Virto (ESP), Niclas Fasth (SWE), Espen Kofstad (NOR), Kristoffer Broberg (SWE), Danie van Tonder, Wallie Coetsee, George Coetzee, Desvonde Botes, John Hahn (USA), Pedro Oriol (ESP), Eduardo de la Riva (ESP), Daniel Brooks (ENG), Chris Paisley (ENG), Jaco Ahlers, Morten Orum Madsen (DEN), Johan Carlsson (SWE), Dylan Frittelli, Jason Palmer (ENG), Ulrich van den Berg, Lyle Rowe
71 - Alex Haindl, Bernd Ritthammer (GER), Byeong-hun An (KOR), Neil Schietekat, Thriston Lawrence, Robert Rock (ENG), Merrick Bremner, Thomas Aiken, Richard Sterne, Oliver Farr (WAL), Dawie Van der Walt, Shiv Kapur (IND), John Parry (ENG), Mikael Lundberg(SWE), David Drysdale (SCO), Damien McGrane (IRL), Derick Petersen, Mark Murless, Edouard Espana (FRA), Matthew Fitzpatrick (ENG), Thomas Pieters (BEL), Adrian Otaegui (ESP), Jacques Blaauw, Lee Slattery (ENG), Michael Hoey (NIR), Justin Harding, Ruan de Smidt, Lindani Ndwandwe, Steve Surry (ENG)
72 - Brandon Pieters, Andrew Georgiou, Soren Kjeldsen (DEN), Charl Coetzee, Kevin Phelan (IRL), Andrew Curlewis, Tyrone Ferreira, Daniel Woltman (USA), Ben Evans (ENG), James Kamte, Ross McGowan (ENG), Tom Murray (ENG), Peter Uihlein (USA), Titch Moore, Haydn Porteous, Gary Stal (FRA), Madalitso Muthiya (ZAM), Max Orrin (ENG)
73 - Torben Baumann (GER), JC Ritchie, Renato Paratore (ITA), Bradley Neil (AMA) (SCO), Garth Mulroy, Neo Thubisi, Pablo Martin Benavides (ESP), Cyril Bouniol (FRA), Teboho Sefatsa, Alessandro Tadini (ITA), Attie Schwartzel, Andy Sullivan (ENG), Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jarmo Sandelin (SWE), Chris Lloyd (ENG), Rhys West
74 - James Kingston, Oliver Bekker, Jerome Lando Casanova (FRA), Keith Horne, Jordi Garcia Pinto (ESP), Daniel Gaunt (ENG), Justin Walters, Paul Maddy (ENG), Darren Fichardt, Hennie Otto, Ryan Cairns (ZIM), Pelle Edberg (SWE), John Bele, Keenan Davidse, Martin du Toit
75 - Toto Thimba (Jnr), Antonio Hortal (ESP), Peter Karmis, Warren Abery, Jared Harvey, Wynand Dingle, Pontus Widegren (SWE), Richard McEvoy (ENG), Vaughn Groenewald, Johan Edfors (SWE), Lasse Jensen(DEN), Zander Lombard
76 - Jorge Campillo (ESP), Tyrone Mordt, Andrea Pavan (ITA), Bradford Vaughan
77 - Joakim Lagergren (SWE), Heinrich Bruiners, Oliver Wilson (ENG), Colin Nel, Richard Finch (ENG), Mark Williams (ZIM), Callum Mowat
78 - Doug McGuigan, Allan Versfeld, Michiel Bothma

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