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Day one digest: 2021 Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker

Day one digest: 2021 Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker

Everything you need to know from Thursday's opening round in Nairobi.

Raphael Jacquelin

Benjamin Hebert left it late, Raphaël Jacquelin rolled back the years and Darren Fichardt reached a significant milestone on day one of the 2021 Magical Kenya Open presented by Johnnie Walker.

Here is everything you need to know from Thursday's opening round in Nairobi. 

Hebert leaves it late

Benjamin Hebert is still chasing a first European Tour title in his 218th event. The Frenchman was part of an eight-way tie for the lead coming down the last at Karen Country Club, but produced a finishing birdie to sit top on his own at seven under par. "It was good but I played well all day, so I’m very happy," he said. "My strategy worked well. I didn’t play too aggressive or hit many drivers. In the morning it’ll be a little bit wetter, so maybe we can be more aggressive with the pins, we’ll see tomorrow."

Fichardt joins 400 club

South Africa's Darren Fichardt shot a two under par 69 at the start of his 400th European Tour event. The 45-year-old, making his first visit to Kenya, comes into the milestone event in good form after a runner-up finish in Qatar last week.

Horsfield back with a bang

England's Sam Horsfield was playing his first event since picking up an injury in Cyprus last season. There was no sign of rust from the 24-year-old, who sits in a share of second after an opening 65. “It's nice to be 100 per cent again and out here with the boys competing,” he said. “It took me a while to get into the round even though I was three under through four. It felt different to playing golf at home. The back nine was a little questionable. But then I hit a good shot on one of the holes on the front nine and it got me into the flow of the round again.”

Jacquelin rolls back the years

France's Raphaël Jacquelin had made only three cuts in the last two years coming into the week, but the 48-year-old appeared to be back to his best as he claimed a share of second with an opening 65. . “I’m really happy with the way I putted, I’ve been working on it quite a lot and it’s good when you feel it coming back,” he said. “It paid off today. I managed to save some good pars. It’s a tricky course, so you have to be careful off the tee. It’s fun, it’s an old-style course, and it’s good for me, actually. (Qatar) was my first cut in a long time. I haven’t played that great over the last two years. It’s good to be back, I feel a bit of confidence.”

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