DURBAN, South Africa – Alex Cejka shot an 8-under 64 Friday for a share of the first-round lead of the 100th South African Open with two-time winner Retief Goosen.
They were one stroke clear of Ernie Els and Charl Schwartzel after completing a round that had been rained out Thursday at Durban Country Club.
Top Sports storiesMascot collides with cop “It’s quite a tricky course, but it’s not that long, especially when the wind’s not blowing,” Cejka said. “So I played quite smart with a lot of 3-irons off the tee, and a lot of 3-woods – you’ve got to have the ball in play.”
The second round will be played Saturday, after which the cut will be made to 50 and ties, instead of the original 65. Those who make the cut will play 36 holes Sunday in the European Tour and Sunshine Tour event.
The difference between Cejka and the others was that the German made no mistakes as the wind stayed away and course played even shorter than its 6,733 yards.
Goosen had two bogeys in his 64, while Els and Schwartzel each dropped a single shot in their 65s.
Goosen, the champion in 1995 and 2006, had eagles on Nos. 18 and 3.
“I hit a perfect 3-wood on to the front edge of 18 and then holed a 25-footer,” he said. “And on 3, I hit a 3-wood and a 5-iron from 198 meters to about 10 feet in there.”
Els, a four-time winner, changed his mind about entering his national championship and started well, including a closing 31 that featured a chip-in for eagle on 13 and three birdies.
“I missed quite a few putts on the front nine and was getting a little annoyed with myself,” Els said. “But I played a really solid back nine.”
He and Schwartzel, winner of the Sunshine Tour money list, were a stroke clear of a group of six players on 66.
British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen had a bogey-free round and headed a group of 10 players on 67.
Oosthuizen missed the cut at the Alfred Dunhill Championship last week, even though his game started coming around in the second round. He was concerned the break for rain this week would affect his momentum.
“When tournament directors and everyone is pushing you to get as many holes as possible you can play yourself out of the tournament right there,” he said.
Tim Clark, another two-time winner, was six shots off the pace.