Darren hits the front early in Tshwane Open

Darren Fichardt continued his wondrous recent run of form as he carded a seven-under-par 65 on Thursday to take the early round one lead of the Tshwane Open.

A single bogey on the seventh hole – his 16th as he started his round on the 10th at The Els Club Copperleaf – sullied an otherwise flawless round as he led the morning field in the €1.5-million tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour and the European Tour by two strokes.

“It’s funny, because I birdied all of the tough holes and then the easiest hole on the golf course I bogey – that’s how this game is,” said Fichardt.

“I got a bad bounce off the tee shot and it went into a bunker. I had a horrendous lie and only had 90 metres to the hole. I managed to get it to the front edge of the green and then chipped it close and missed a short put. It was a very weak hole, but the other 17 were good,” he added.

They were also good for Chile’s Mark Tullo, who has already spent three weeks in South Africa. He carded five-under-par 67 to share second spot behind Fichardt’s early pace with England’s Gary Lockerbie and India’s Jeev Milka Singh.

Tullo, who has consecutive top-10 to his name after good performance in the Africa Open and last week’s Dimension Data Pro-Am, didn’t drop a shot, while Lockerbie and Singh each made just one bogey.

The tournament is the final of six events co-sanctioned by the European Tour in South Africa, and features the longest par-five hole on the circuit in the 685-yard (626-metre) fourth.

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