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Friday, 19 March 2010
Joburg Open 2009 - Round One  (Getty Images)
Joburg Open 2009 - Round One (Getty Images)

Steven Jeppesen shares the lead with Trevor Fisher Jnr after the pair carded opening round eight under par 63s at the Joburg Open.

The Swede, who had an afternoon tee-off at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, managed to match his rival's earlier effort in a round that included two eagles and five birdies on the West Course.

Playing on the same 18 holes, South African Fisher Jnr. was the clubhouse leader for most of the day with an astonishing six birdies through his opening nine holes setting him on his way.

Michael Hoey from Northern Ireland is a shot further back after his round of 64 in the co-sanctioned European Tour and Sunshine Tour event, with Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, Edoardo Molinari, Patrik Sjoland, Andrew McLardy, Rafael Cabrera Bello and David Drysdale all on six under par - the latter two being the only players amongst the leaders to shoot bogey free rounds.

Jeppesen, 24, who has never won on The European Tour with his best position being tied second at the Madeira Island Open in 2004, admitted afterwards that he was just thrilled with his start.

"It was a good round and I'm very pleased," he said.

"It started well with that eagle on the second and then I had a good couple of opportunities on three and four. Before I went out there I saw that there were a lot of guys shooting good scores on the first six holes."

Fisher Jnr has previously won the FNB Botswana Open, Eskom Power Cup and Seekers Travel Pro-Am - all lesser-known Sunshine Tour events. He showed impressive form on the opening day and attributed his performance to a flying front nine.

He said: "It's always nice to have a good start. You open up with a little six under and yeah, I started birdie, birdie which was good.

"I had nice rhythm and I putted really well. I gave myself some nice opportunities. I was quite patient which is a good thing for me as I don't feel rushed, and maybe I can maintain it now for three more days."

Ballymoney born Hoey, who carded a 75 in the opening round last year, said: "I am pretty happy, I played here last year and the weather wasn't great. It didn't help as I wasn't playing well at all.

"But today it was pretty hot so the ball was going longer and that helped. I got off to a good start as well."

The first two rounds of the tournament are taking place on both the East and West Courses after which the last two rounds will finish on the East.

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