Thursday, 07 January 2010
Africa Open - Round One  (Getty Images)
Africa Open - Round One (Getty Images)

A storming finish to his round enabled Trevor Fisher Junior to share a five-way tie at the top of a clustered leaderboard after day one of the Africa Open in East London.

The South African ended with back-to-back birdies to move to seven under par alongside compatriots Titch Moore and Richard Sterne, while Sweden's Patrik Sjoland and Dane Mark Haastrup made sure there some Europeans firmly in the mix.

Four players were a further stroke back after 67s, and all of them were South African - Thomas Aiken, Keith Horne, Tjaart van der Walt and Charl Schwartzel, the highest ranked player in the field at 66 - with 16 players at five under on a day of low scoring in the coastal city, more commonly associated with windy conditions.

Amongst those was England's Robert Coles, who fired an incredible six straight birdies to move into a share of the lead, before a bogey on the penultimate par four seventh saw him slip back.

Northern Ireland's Darren Clarke did his best to stay in touch with a four under 69, a card that had two blemishes in the form of bogeys on the fifth and 18th.

Fisher, who is from the Highveld where the wind is not as much of a factor, was grateful for the breeze which replaced the gusts of the previous two days.

“I’m really happy with my round, and it was only when I landed in a sandy divot on the 18th fairway that I made bogey,” he said.

Most of the day, though, belonged to Sterne.

The World Number 94, who started his round on the ninth hole - with the 10th, more often used as an alternate starting point, being adjudged too far to walk from the clubhouse - felt he could have gone even better.

He said: "I had it going, seven under with four to go. But five and six aren't my favourite holes, so I played them conservatively and made pars. I didn't play good wedge shots there at all, but I'm still happy with seven under."

Moore, whose biggest career win came on the European Challenge Tour via the 2003 Skandia PGA Open, was thrilled with his display, which included just one dropped shot on the par four 16th.

"It was a good start for me," he said. "Conditions were nice out there and there were a lot of birdie opportunities.

"So seven under is right up there, I played really solid and I'm very happy with where I am. I think professionally, it's definitely the best round I've played."

 

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