Friday, 19 March 2010
Open de Espana round 1  (Getty Images)
Open de Espana round 1 (Getty Images)

Sweden’s Martin Erlandsson raced into an early three shot lead on the opening day of the South African Open Championship.

The 35 year old, who is still seeking his maiden European Tour win, birdied two of his outward nine, but burst to life after the turn.

Having played the back nine first at Pearl Valley Golf Estates, he birdied the second, third and fourth and then eagled the par five fifth.

That took him to seven under with three holes to play, with South African Jacques Blaauw England’s Jamie Elson - son of former rookie of the year Pip - the closest challengers on four under.

One hole was all it took to undo a brilliant start by England's Ross McGowan.

Needing a top two finish to have a chance of moving into the world's top 50 for the first time - just in time to earn a place in next April's Masters Tournament - McGowan birdied three of his first six holes and led the field.

But then came a triple bogey seven on the 461 yard 16th, his seventh, for the player who was returning to action a month after finishing runner-up to Lee Westwood at the Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World.

Last week's winner Pablo Martin was among the later starters.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
T1RAMSAY, RichieSCO18-13
T1KAPUR, ShivIND18-13
3HANSEN, AndersDEN18-12
T4ANDERSSON HED, FredrikSWE18-11
T4MOLINARI, EdoardoITA18-11
T6MARTIN BENAVIDES, PabloESP18-10
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