Goosen and Cejka lead the way

17/12/2010 15:59:16
Retief Goosen  (Getty Images)
Retief Goosen (Getty Images)

Home favourite Retief Goosen and Germany's Alex Cejka share the lead after completing the first round of the South African Open Championship with eight under par scores of 64.

That was enough to put them a shot clear in Durban, with two more local favourites - World Number 12 Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel - one behind after carding 65.

Englishman David Dixon and Spaniard Carlos Del Moral are joined by a quartet of South Africans - Richard Sterne, Jaco Ahlers, Garth Mulroy and Tyrone van Aswegen - on six under after the Durban Country Club course became playable following heavy rain that washed out most of Thursday's action.

Organisers had been left with no choice but to abandon play after less than two-and-a-half hours on the opening day because the constant rain made conditions unplayable.

Round two, weather permitting, is now scheduled for Saturday and organisers plan a cut to 50 as they bid to squeeze in 36 holes on Sunday.

Two-time former champion Goosen came into the day two under having already completed four hole, but despite his success, he endured a mixed day with two bogeys coming in alongside a pair of eagles and four further birdies.

Speaking afterward, he said: "Obviously, that's the way you want to start. It went nicely for me yesterday, those four holes in the rain when I managed to get two birdies and then on the first this morning I got another one to keep the momentum going.

"I'm off to a good start so hopefully I can try and start building on this tomorrow afternoon. Then we'll see what happens on Sunday if we play 36 or 18."

Cejka, a four-time winner on The European Tour, went through his round without a bogey and picked up eight birdies.

"It was a good day," he said. "The practise rounds were not so good for me, but today was excellent.

"There's still three rounds to go, which is a long, long way. Hopefully I can play well in the next three days."

Four-time winner Els, who is the highest ranked player in the field, had his last victory back in March

He holed a 12 footer at the 11th, chipped in for eagle two holes later, and almost made it consecutive eagles when he found the green in two at the par five 14th before tapping in for birdie.

A 14 foot putt at the penultimate hole completed an inward 31, and Els is aiming to now build on his effort.

"I missed quite a few putts on the front nine and was getting a little annoyed with myself, but I played a really solid back nine," added Els.

"You know I just hit the ball really nicely and that's something I can take out of today.

"I really feel like I'm solid from tee to green and you need to be on this course. Hopefully that back nine will give me a lot of confidence for the weekend."