JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Scottish duo Alastair Forsyth and Craig Lee fired seven under par totals on the opening day of the European Tour’s Joburg Open to form part of a four-way tie for the lead on Thursday.
South Africa’s Justin Walters and Italian Edoardo Molinari also finished on seven under at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
Lee played off the par-72 East course, while the others did so off the easier par-71 West course, the shorter of the two by 400 yards, with Forsyth’s arguably the round of the day after seven birdies and no dropped shots.
“The front nine was probably as good as I’ve played in a long time,” Forsyth said.
“I seemed to do everything right on the front nine, but I struggled a little on the back, where I ended up between clubs a few times. No dropped shots and seven birdies, so I‘m never going to complain with that.”
Lee, who has missed the cut in his last five tournaments in South Africa, said he was ready to put his “pathetic” record in the country behind him.
“I don’t normally play well at all in South Africa, my record here is actually pretty pathetic,” he said.
“It’s probably a course that should have suited me in the past, because my strength has always been ball striking. I’ve never played that great a round here, but my game has gotten slightly better over the years,” the 36-year-old added.
Lee is hoping for a top 10 finish that would see him potentially take up one of three places at The British Open Championship on offer to those finishing in the top 10 and otherwise not exempt for Royal Liverpool in July.
Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town; Editing by Rex Gowar