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Darren Fichardt and Martin Vorster lead in Johannesburg

Darren Fichardt and Martin Vorster lead in Johannesburg

Home duo Darren Fichardt and Martin Vorster shared the first-round lead at the 2023 Jonsson Workwear Open in South Africa.


The pair were a stroke clear on eight under par at The Club at Steyn City, Johannesburg, in an event co-sanctioned with the Sunshine Tour.

Fichardt started from the tenth with back-to-back birdies, and a run of four in succession around the turn took him to six under.

He remained bogey-free through the remainder of the front nine, picking up further shots at the third and seventh for a 64.

He said: “I started with two birdies and I just carried on with the momentum.

“I didn’t have a great warm-up so my first two holes I was like, ‘just swing easy and try and get it in the fairway and try and get it close to the green’ and I managed to make birdie and then did two good shots in the next hole and that was me, it was just staying consistent the rest of the round.

“Once you get off to a hot start, there’s no fixing up to do. So you just keep riding the wave.

“A good start always makes it easier for the rest of the week. Obviously to expect to do an eight-under tomorrow again is… it’s just go out and start the tournament over again, play one-round tournaments.”

Vorster was two under after three holes and following an otherwise quiet front nine, he burst into life with an eagle three at the 10th.

Back-to-back birdies followed immediately, and two more at the 14th and 16th took him alongside Fichardt.

He said: “Really happy with the start, I hit the ball really well today tee to green, gave myself plenty of opportunities and ended up making a few putts, so a very solid start to the tournament.

“It’s a great spot to be in but same gameplan tomorrow, we’re not going to change anything. Tee to green keep it the same and hopefully make a few putts again.”

Sebastian Soderberg, Joakim Lagergren, Hennie O’Kennedy and Nick Bachem shared third place on seven under.

Sweden’s Soderberg took only 11 holes to reach that mark, birdieing the second and third, the sixth and seventh and three successive holes from the ninth. He recovered from his only dropped shot, at the 13th, with birdie at the 16th.

Lagergren went out in 32 on the back nine and a second eagle of the day, at the par-five third, followed by birdie at the next took him to a 65.

O’Kennedy, starting on the back nine, finished strongly with three straight birdies from the sixth while Bachem made back-to-back gains on four separate occasions.

Aaron Cockerill was bogey-free in his 66, with Calum Hill matching that score in a round whose only blemish was a bogey at the 18th – his ninth hole.

Jayden Schaper’s 66 was a more adventurous affair with nine birdies, including a run of four in succession from the first having also started on the back nine, but three bogeys.

Home favourite George Coetzee and Malaysia’s Gavin Green also made bogey-free 66s, with Hill’s fellow Scot Ewen Ferguson and Danes Niklas Norgaard and Martin Simonsen completing the group at six under.

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