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Højgaard and Hebert share early lead in Mauritius

Højgaard and Hebert share early lead in Mauritius

Rookie Rasmus Højgaard carded a bogey free 66 to share the lead with Benjamin Hebert midway through the opening day of the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Rasmus Højgaard

Players from the European Tour, Asian Tour and Sunshine Tour were gathered at Heritage Golf Club as the second event of the 2020 Race to Dubai brought the field to the island paradise in the Indian Ocean.

Qualifying School graduate Højgaard made his first European Tour cut at last week's Alfred Dunhill Championship and the 18-year-old Dane continued that progress to get to six under alongside Frenchman Hebert.

Matthieu Pavon and Antoine Rozner ensured there was further French representation at five under alongside South African trio Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Keith Horne and Zander Lombard, and Belgian Thomas Detry.

Højgaard may be playing his first season on the European Tour but the family name has been on golfing lips since 2018 when he and identical twin brother Nicolai combined with John Axelsen to win the Eisenhower Trophy for Denmark and played together in the Junior Ryder Cup.

Nicolai pushed Sergio Garcia all the way as he finished second at last season's KLM Open but on Thursday it was Rasmus' time to shine.

Hebert has six wins on the European Challenge Tour but is still seeking a maiden victory on the European Tour having been defeated in the final of the 2018 Belgian Knockout and lost out in three play-offs in 2019.

Højgaard was playing alongside Horne and it was the veteran who set the early pace, recovering from a double bogey on the seventh with birdies on the second, third, fifth, ninth, tenth, 11th, 13th and 14th.

A bogey on the last dropped him to five under alongside Rozner, who also dropped a shot on the 18th to go with two other bogeys, an eagle on the par four fourth and six birdies.

Højgaard birdied the fifth and eagled the par five seventh before adding gains on the 14th and 16th and producing an excellent pitch to pick up a shot on the last.

Hebert had dropped a shot on the 13th but birdied the 14th, 15th, second, fourth, fifth and seventh before a ten footer on the ninth put him in a share of the lead.

Lombard chipped in at the ninth en route to a bogey free 67, while Bezuidenhout and Pavon both dropped a single shot, and Detry made an eagle, four birdies and a bogey.

Dane Søren Kjeldsen and Scot Connor Syme were at four under, a shot clear of a group of six players.

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