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​By lunchtime on the second day of the Joburg Open, Englishman Robert Rock was in the lead, with five South Africans snapping at his heels.
ENGLISHMAN Robert Rock led the Joburg Open pack by lunchtime on the second day of play, followed by five South Africans.

Bruce McDonald from Zimbabwe tees offBruce McDonald from Zimbabwe tees offWith 11 under par, Rock seemed to be at the top of his game on the West Course, while Jbe’ Kruger and Branden Grace were not far behind with 10 under par. They were followed by Michiel Bothma and George Coetzee with 9 under par and Lyle Rowe with eight under par, in line with Scott Jamieson from Scotland and Jamie Elson from England.

Partly cloudy weather with intervals of blistering heat gave for a somewhat pleasant day on the golf course. But with rain forecast for the remaining three afternoons of the Open, the weather seems set to interrupt smooth rounds for all players.

The first round of the €1,3-million (about R13-million) Joburg Open was completed on Friday morning, after dangerous weather halted play on Thursday afternoon, the first day of the tournament.

First round lead
Irishman Damien McGrane, at seven under par at lunchtime, and Elson shared the first round lead after shooting eight-under-par 63 on the par 71 West Course of Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. At the end of the first day, McGrane said: “I played beautifully from start to finish, and this course does give up opportunities. The course tomorrow is more difficult.

“The weather and greens were perfect, and if you’re on your game there are birdie chances. Needless to say, you need to make the birdie chances and today I holed a few nice putts. I stacked up a few birdies and had a nice chip in on 15, which all of a sudden turned my round completely.”

About the course he said: “There is no run on the fairways, so the course does play very long and [I] used every club in the bag to get around the course. It’s about making the best of the situation – I hit plenty of fairways and holed some nice putts for birdie. I just bogeyed the last after missing the fairway off the tee, and that was disappointing. Apart from that it was a pretty good round of golf.”

Thomas Norret from DenmarkThomas Norret from DenmarkElson leapt into contention by carding birdies through the first four, but drops at the 10th and 11th slowed the Englishman.

Defending champion, Joburg local Charl Schwartzel, who at lunchtime was sitting at four under par, plodded around in 72 after struggling to sink putts.

About winning the tournament for the third time, Schwartzel said: “It will definitely be my first to win three in a row. I am up for the challenge this week and this gives me something extra to play for. I would really like to make it a hat-trick.”

To view the full tournament scoreboard, click here.

Golf enthusiasts can catch all the action from the front line as all of the games are open to the public. Tickets are on sale at the gate of the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club until 16 January; single tickets are R30, and a full event ticket, which covers all four days, is R80. It is free for pensioners and children under the age of 16.

For golf lovers who are unable to watch each swing, birdie and eagle in person, the tournament is broadcast on Supersport 1 each day from 12noon to 4pm.

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Related links:

Joburg Open