Havret keeps bid to end drought alive

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PRE­TO­RIA: French­man Gre­gory Havret fired a 65 on Thurs­day to share the Tsh­wane Open firstround lead as he seeks to end a ni­ne­sea­son tro­phy drought.

He is at the top of the leader­board at six-un­der par with Swede Alexan­der Bjork and South African Haydn Por­te­ous in the Euro­pean Tour event in Pre­to­ria.

They led by one stroke from Aus­tralian Ben Ec­cles, Finn Mikko Korho­nen, Scot Dun­can Stewart, Toby Tree of Eng­land and South Africa’s Justin Wal­ters.

Havret has tri­umphed three times on the Euro­pean cir­cuit, but not since 2008 when he lifted the John­nie Walker Cham­pi­onship tro­phy.

The 40-year-old birdied six holes on the front nine at Pre­to­ria Coun­try Club, then bo­geyed 11 and 13 be­fore re­cov­er­ing to claim two more birdies.

Bjork birdied two holes on the front nine and four on the back half of the 7,081-yard lay­out as he chases a first Euro­pean Tour ti­tle.

Por­te­ous also had two birdies on the out­ward nine and four on the in­ward trek in pur­suit of a sec­ond Euro­pean tri­umph af­ter the 2016 Joburg Open.

South African Dar­ren Fichardt, who suc­ceeded Por­te­ous as Joburg Open cham­pion last Sun­day, opened with a 69.

An­other South African, Trevor Im­mel­man, fared best of the two for­mer ma­jor win­ners in the field by card­ing a level-par 71.

The other, 2016 Ry­der Cup skip­per Dar­ren Clarke of North­ern Ire­land, had two dou­ble bo­geys in a 74.

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