South African Open: Louis Oosthuizen Leads, Ernie Els Lurking

Oosthuizen has posted four top 10s in 2018

Oosthuizen has posted four top 10s in 2018

The 2010 Open champion made the ideal start to this year's South African Open when he signed for a bogey-free nine-under-par 62 on the Bushwillow course on Thursday.

Kitayama, who earned his way onto the 2018-19 European Tour by taking the fourth card at last month's Qualifying School, won last week's Afrasia Bank Mauritius Open and has carried that form into South Africa's national championship.

"It was nice to continue that run from last week".

"I made a nice long putt on the first and got off to a really hot start. But I think that mentally just getting the rest is the most important thing".

Louis Oosthuizen discusses his opening-round 62 on home soil at the South African Open.

The Chico, Calif., native is one shot behind 2010 Open champion Louis Oosthuizen after returning an 8-under 63 around the Firethorn course at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg. PHOTO: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

Oosthuizen said: "Any time, anywhere, nine under is always going to feel nice".

On a day when Matt Wallace, a three-time victor in 2018, and two-time Open champion Ernie Els also made promising starts with rounds of 65 and 66 respectively, Warren and Stewart fared best among a 10-strong Scottish contingent.

South Africa's Justin Harding meanwhile signed for a 69 to trail Oosthuizen by seven shots in tied-46th place. It was one of those rounds where you don't really look at any scoreboard or your card, you just play.

"I drove the ball well and gave myself a few opportunities to hit it close", said Oosthuizen about his round.

"But there's a long way to go".

Harding, who is now placed third on the Habitat for Humanity Standings, needs a win this week to stand any chance of topping the money list as the Asian Tour season draws to a close in Jakarta next week.

The best ranked Australian is Dimitrios Papadatos, who shot a one-under-par 70 to put himself into 62nd and eight shots, while Deyen Lawson was 122nd after a one-over 72 in his opening round.

He shares fifth with South African Tyrone Ferreira and Zimbabwean Mark Williams.

Jovan Rebula leads the battle for amateur glory and the Freddie Tait Cup for leading amateur finisher after opening with a round of four-under-par 67 on Bushwillow.

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