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PRETORIA (Reuters) - Gregory Havret came storming out early on Thursday in the opening round of the Tshwane Open at the Pretoria Country Club, but his blistering 65 was later matched by South Africa’s Haydn Porteous and Swedish rookie Alexander Bjork to ensure a three-way tie for the lead.
Havret, a 40-year-old Frenchman looking for a first European Tour win in nine years, bagged six birdies in his opening nine holes to turn in 29. Two bogeys on the back nine slowed him down, but he finished with two more birdies, including holing a 15-foot put on the penultimate hole.
Porteous, 22, was also six under after a blemish-free first round with six birdies, matched by 26-year-old Bjork, who has already made prize money of more than 100 000 Euros in his first six tournaments on the Tour.
"To be bogey-free around this golf course is a fair effort and hopefully I can do the same over the next three days, but I think I mustn’t get ahead of myself," Porteous said.
The trio were a shot ahead of five players on five under, none of whom have had any previous Tour success and all of whom are ranked outside of world golf’s top 250.
Ben Eccles of Australia, Finland’s Mikko Korhonen, Duncan Stewart of Scotland, Englishman Toby Tree and home golfer Justin Walters all hit 66 at the start of the tournament to hold out hopes of breaking new ground in their careers.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Larry King