Dramatic finish gives Madsen a share of the lead

Irish challengers struggle as Madsen and Horsey top Tshwane Open leaderboard

Denmark's Morten Orum Madsen shot a hole-in-one in a remarkable eagle-eagle finish to claim a share of the lead at the Tshwane Open in South Africa. England's David Horsey matched his seven-under-par 63 to join him at the top of the leaderboard after the first round at Pretoria Country Club.

Brett Rumford, playing on invitation, and South Africa's Wallie Coetsee were in a tie for third on six under.

The dramatic close to Madsen’s round captured the most attention. The 26-year-old’s ace on the eighth - his 17th - was the 20th on the European Tour already this season and he followed up by taking three at the par-five ninth. Madsen, who was third at the Africa Open last week, said: “The last couple of weeks I’ve been hitting some shots really close and I actually said to my caddy last week that a hole-in-one is on the cards pretty soon.

“Luckily for me it came today. I hit a fantastic shot, I couldn’t hit it better, and it spun back into the hole. That was only my second hole-in-one and it’s really special to have one in competition on The European Tour.”

Horsey played a more steady round, carding seven birdies in a bogey-free performance.

Coetsee's 64 was notable for his chipping in for eagle at 12th and for one of his five birdies at the 17th. France's Raphael Jacquelin was one of four players on five under while last week's winner Trevor Fisher Jnr was among 10 a shot further back after a 66. Defending champion Ross Fisher was six shots off the lead on one under.

It was a largely a day to forget for the Irish challengers in South Africa with Michael Hoey, Darren Clarke and Damien McGrane all failing to break par. Hoey had least cause for complaint after a level par round of 70 with Europe's new Ryder Cup captain Clarke a shot further back. McGrane will need a significant improvement in Friday's second round if he is to survive the halfway cut after a difficult day that included two double bogeys saw him finish on five over.

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