Oosthuizen has lead on home soil

The Prince George Citizen - - Sports -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG (AP) — Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 British Open cham­pion, led the South African Open by a shot af­ter a 9-un­der 62 in the first round on Thurs­day.

Oosthuizen, play­ing his home Open for the first time in eight years, made a bril­liant start at Rand­burg Golf Club in Jo­han­nes­burg with nine birdies, in­clud­ing six in an eight-hole surge on the back nine, and no bo­geys.

“It was one of those rounds where you don’t re­ally look at any score­board or your card, you just play,” he said. “I drove it re­ally well and gave my­self good op­por­tu­ni­ties to hit it close.”

Oosthuizen was one stroke ahead of Kurt Ki­tayama of the U.S., who won the Mau­ri­tius Open last week­end, and sur­prise chal­lenger Madal­itso Muthiya of Zam­bia.

Zan­der Lom­bard was fourth on 64 while Ernie Els, a five-time win­ner of the event, opened with a 5-un­der 66.

Els, 49, had a run of five birdies in six holes from the sev­enth.

His last vic­tory at the South African Open was in 2010, and his pre­vi­ous win any­where on the Euro­pean Tour came in 2013.

The tour­na­ment is be­ing played on the Firethorn Course and the Bush­wil­low Course. Play­ers will have a round on each be­fore the fi­nal 36 holes are held at Firethorn.

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