Thursday, 11 January 2018
Chase Koepka  (Getty Images)
Chase Koepka (Getty Images)

 

Chase Koepka took a one-shot clubhouse lead during a low-scoring first round at the BMW SA Open Championship proudly hosted by the City of Ekurhuleni.

The American, younger brother of 2017 US Open Championship winner Brooks, carded one eagle, seven birdies and two bogeys to post an impressive seven under par 65 at Glendower Golf Club.

The European Tour rookie, who registered five top-10 finishes on the Challenger Tour last season, opened his round with a bogey but hit back immediately with an eagle at the next.

Birdies at the fifth, sixth and eighth propelled him to four under at the turn before a dropped shot at the 10th brought him back to three under.

Three successive gains from the 12th put Koepka at the top of the leaderboard alongside English pair Chris Paisley and Matt Wallace at six under par and when the World Number 336 birdied the par four 16th, he took the lead.

The 23 year old put his tee shot 40 yards short onto the par three 17th green but rescued a par after his lengthy putt reached five feet. Koepka almost extended his lead to two shots on the last but his putt from the fringe missed the left edge of the cup.

Paisley sits just one shot adrift in sole second place after briefly taking the lead midway through his round of 66 in South Africa.

The Englishman hit the birdie trail at the 11th, 13th 15th and 16th to nudge in front and turn in 32 on his front nine before further gains at the second and fourth moved him to six under.

He picked up his dropped shot with a missed putt from eight feet at the seventh before the 31 year old hit back with a birdie at the next from concessional range before he spurned the chance to finish his day as co-clubhouse leader after a missed birdie opportunity at the last.

Former Amateur Championship winner Bradley Neil sits on five under following a rollercoaster round of 67.

The Scot stormed to three under after four holes but dropped his first shot at the next. A run of birdie-double-bogey-eagle from the eighth brought him back to three under par before settling for two more gains at the 13th and 16th to move into third place.

Wallace, who led the charge for most of the day, finds himself alongside a trio of South Africans Jacques Blaauw and amateur pair Garrick Higgo and Kyle McClatchie and France's Adrien Saddier at four under.

The Englishman rolled in seven birdies in a flawless first 12 holes, which started on the back nine, but a run of bogey-birdie-bogey from the fifth and a double bogey at last saw him finish with 68.

Player host Ernie Els finished on one under for the day, where he carded four birdies and three bogeys, while compatriot and two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen rolled in five gains but also picked up two dropped shots to register a 69. 

On the course, South African duo Branden Grace and Richard Sterne made excellent starts at two under after the opening two holes.

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Tournament Leaderboard

Pos Player nameNatHolePar
1PAISLEY, ChrisENG18-21
2GRACE, BrandenRSA18-18
3RITCHIE, JCRSA18-16
T4VINCENT, ScottZIM18-14
T4KRUYSWIJK, JacquesRSA18-14
T4BLAAUW, JacquesRSA18-14

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