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Sami Välimäki leads the way after course record in Mauritius

Sami Välimäki leads the way after course record in Mauritius

Sami Välimäki set a course record of 62 at Mont Choisy Le Golf to lead the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open by two strokes after round one.

Välimäki, second at the season-opening Joburg Open last month, made 10 birdies and no bogeys to give himself a lead over playing partner Oliver Bekker who was eight under par.

Frenchman Pierre Pineau was third at seven under with South Africa's JC Ritchie a shot further back in fourth.

Välimäki was out in 31 with a birdie at the second and a run of four in a row from the fifth, helped by marvellous long putts on the undulating fifth and sixth greens and one from the fringe of the eighth.

The Finn hit a lovely pitch up to the 12th green to set up a short-range birdie and a fine up and down from a greenside bunker at the next took him to a share of Pineau's early lead at seven under.

He made it four in a row for the second time with a routine birdie at the 14th and another long putt at the 15th, and went very close from distance at the 17th as well.

He was on in two at the par-five last and though his eagle putt slid just by, a tap-in birdie was enough for a record 10-under-par score.

"It was a really nice round," he said. "I putted of course really good, made some longer ones - I haven't made them the last couple of weeks, so it's nice to get it rolling.

"Oli played a really good round as well, so we enjoyed the day. I feel like I found the rhythm and the speed for the greens and that was the key to the day.

"Just keep grinding, hitting good shots and just give those opportunities. I still hit the ball really well so just keep making those ones."

Bekker was also bogey-free for his round, with three birdies on the outward half before a stellar back nine.

Four birdies in five holes from the 12th helped him stay on the coat tails of his partner and he matched Välimäki's gain at the last to card a 64.

Pineau, coming off a top-ten finish at the ISPS Handa Australia Open two weeks ago, made birdies at the third, fifth and seventh to reach the turn in 33, before dropping his only shot of the day at the tenth.

He responded with four straight birdies from the 12th and an eighth of his round at the last, after a perfectly judged chip, took him to seven under.

"That was a good round," he said afterwards. "That was very tricky with the wind, a bit of rain on a few holes.

"I'm very happy with the way I hit my tee shots, put my chips close and holed some putts.

"Because of the wind, you're sure you're going to miss some greens so you have to miss on the good side, and just make birdie on some easy holes. There's five par fives, so that's many opportunities.

"I'm just looking to focus on me and not the leaderboard, just play golf."

Ritchie, starting from the 10th, was on track for a 65 of his own until a bogey four at the eighth meant he had to settle for six under.

Niklas Lemke was five under after a stirring birdie-eagle finish with a long putt at the last. That was the second eagle of an eventful back nine also containing three birdies and a double bogey, in contrast to nine pars on the outward half.

Denmark's Christopher Bring and France's Ko Jeong Weon were alongside the Swede in fifth.

Last week's Alfred Dunhill Championship winner Ockie Strydom continued his good start to the season with a three-under-par 69.

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