Oliver Bekker takes one-shot lead after opening 66 in South Africa

Australia’s Dimitrios Papadatos had set early pace at Leopard Creek

South Africa’s  Oliver Bekker tees off during the first round of the  Alfred Dunhill Championships at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club  in Malelane, South Africa. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

South Africa’s Oliver Bekker tees off during the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championships at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club in Malelane, South Africa. Photograph: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

 

South African Oliver Bekker shot a six-under-par 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek.

Bekker carded six birdies against just one bogey as he edged ahead of Australian Dimitrios Papadatos on the edge of Kruger National Park.

Frenchman Raphael Jacquelin is third on the leaderboard on four under ahead of a group of nine players on three under which includes Scottish pair David Drysdale and Liam Johnston. South Africa’s Brandon Stone, who won the event last time it was held in 2016, is also on three under.

Bekker reached the turn in 33 before kicking on with a run of four successive birdies from the 11th.

He told www.europeantour.com: “I hit it really good today. The greens are really firm but I drove it well so I was in fairway most of the time and I could control my ball.

“I think the changes on this golf course are good for my game. I, traditionally, have not played that great over here, but today I felt like it suited my game a little bit better so I’m looking forward to what this week’s got in store.”

Bekker’s run saw him overtake Papadatos, who had led earlier but could only add birdies on the 11th and 16th on his back nine.

Two more South Africans, Darren Fichardt and Dylan Frittelli, also reached five under early on but dropped back into the group on three under.

A further nine players were on two under, including Scotland’s Marc Warren and Robert MacIntyre, and England’s Ben Evans and Oliver Wilson. Louis Oosthuizen, winner of last week’s South African Open, was on one under.

Neil O’Briain and Gavin Moynihan will both have their work cut out to make the cut after poor opening rounds.

Both started on the back nine, with O’Briain carding 44 for the nine holes and Moynihan 44 after carding two double-bogeys and three bogeys.

O’Briain finished up with a four-over 76, while Moynihan recovered on the front nine holes, making eight pars and a birdie two on the seventh as he carded a six-over 78.

LEADERBOARD

(British and Irish unless stated, par 72; (a) denotes amateurs)

66 Oliver Bekker (Rsa)

67 Dimitrios Papadatos (Aus)

68 Raphael Jacquelin (Fra)

69 Espen Kofstad (Nor), Brandon Stone (Rsa), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Pablo Larrazabal (Esp), Robert Karlsson (Swe), Hyo-won Park (Kor), David Drysdale, Liam Johnston, Dylan Frittelli (Rsa)

70 Ben Evans, Adri Arnaus (Esp), Ockie Strydom (Rsa), Marc Warren, Oliver Wilson, David Lipsky (USA), Robert Macintyre, Bernd Wiesberger (Aut), Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa)

71 Adilson Da Silva (Bra), Matthew Jordan, Guido Migliozzi (Esp), Zander Lombard (Rsa), Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa), Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Esp), Scott Jamieson, Tom Murray, Max Orrin, Scott Vincent (Zim)

72 Steven Brown, David Law, Neil Schietekat (Rsa), Chris Swanepoel (Rsa), Doug McGuigan, Matias Calderon (Chi), Jeff Winther (Den), Rourke Van Der Spuy (Rsa), Sean Crocker (USA), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Niklas Lemke (Swe), Keenan Davidse (Rsa), Stuart Manley, David Borda (Esp), Deyen Lawson (Aus), Colin Nel (Rsa)

73 Thomas Aiken (Rsa), Charl Schwartzel (Rsa), (a) Kristoffer Reitan (Nor), Jack Singh Brar, Branden Grace (Rsa), Jaco Van Zyl (Rsa), George Coetzee (Rsa), Joachim B Hansen (Den), Marcel Siem (Ger), Chase Koepka (USA), Lyle Rowe (Rsa), Ernie Els (Rsa), Victor Perez (Fra), Jaco Prinsloo (Rsa), Bernd Ritthammer (Ger), Jean Hugo (Rsa)

74 Merrick Bremner (Rsa), Matt Wallace, Shaun Norris (Rsa), Grant Forrest, Pieter Moolman (Rsa), Allister Ger Kock (Rsa), Daniel Gavins, Jean-Paul Strydom (Rsa), Louis Ger Jager (Rsa), Hennie Otto (Rsa), Kalle Samooja (Fin), Romain Langasque (Fra), Trevor Immelman (Rsa), Daniel Greene (Rsa), JJ Senekal (Rsa), Justin Walters (Rsa), Richard Sterne (Rsa)

75 Rhys Enoch, Jared Harvey (Rsa), Kim Koivu (Fin), Peter Hanson (Swe), Dean Burmester (Rsa), Tapio Pulkkanen (Fin), Tyrone Ferreira (Rsa), Alejandro Canizares (Esp), Christiaan Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Mark Williams (Zim), Trevor Fisher Jnr (Rsa), Tyrone Ryan (Rsa), Jacquin Hess (Rsa), Chris Paisley, Ryan Cairns (Zim), Gregory Bourdy (Fra), Lorenzo Gagli (Ita)

76 Garth Mulroy (Rsa), Filippo Bergamaschi (Ita), Morten Orum Madsen (Den), Sebastian Soderberg (Swe), Bryce Easton (Rsa), Peter Karmis (Rsa), Chris Cannon, Edoardo Molinari (Ita), Vaughn Groenewald (Rsa), Alex Haindl (Rsa), Jake Roos (Rsa), Breyten Meyer (Rsa), Daniel Hammond (Rsa), Nick Cullen (Aus), Sipho Bujela (Rsa), Neil O’Briain, Ruan Ger Smidt (Rsa)

77 Kurt Kitayama (USA), Riekus Nortje (Rsa), Ulrich Van Den Berg (Rsa), Mikko Ilonen (Fin), Matthieu Pavon (Fra), Heinrich Bruiners (Rsa), Marc Cayeux (Zim), (a) Ivan Cantero Gutierrez (Esp), Kristian Krogh Johannessen (Nor), Max Schmitt (Ger), Dawie Van Der Walt (Rsa), Daniel Van Tonder (Rsa), Andre Ger Decker (Rsa), Wynand Dingle (Rsa)

78 Jacques Blaauw (Rsa), Michael G Palmer (Rsa), JC Ritchie (Rsa), Jaco Ahlers (Rsa), Gavin Moynihan, Adrien Saddier (Fra), MJ Viljoen (Rsa), Thriston Lawrence (Rsa), Pedro Figueiredo (Por), Per Langfors (Swe), (a) Theunis Bezuidenhout (Rsa), Steve Surry, Lindani Ndwandwe (Rsa), Gregory Havret (Fra)

79 Hennie Du Plessis (Rsa), Anthony Michael (Rsa), Christofer Blomstrand (Swe), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Omar Sandys (Rsa)

81 Cameron Moralee (Rsa), Matteo Manassero (Ita), Scott Gregory

82 Makhetha Mazibuko (Rsa), Scott Campbell

83 Thabang Simon (Rsa), Irvin Mazibuko (Rsa)

84 Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa)

86 Derick Petersen (Rsa)

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