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Schwartzel off to slow start in soggy South Africa

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JOHANNESBURG – Ireland’s Damien McGrane and Jamie Elson of England both shot 8-under 63 to share the early lead in the weather-affected first round at the Joburg Open on Thursday.

Nearly half the field, including two-time defending champion Charl Schwartzel, failed to complete their rounds on the West Course following a four-hour afternoon delay because of thunderstorms at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.

Schwartzel was even par through 15 holes, tied for 104th place.

South Africa’s Desvonde Botes was part of a three-way tie for third after a 7-under 65 on the par-72 East Course. He was tied with Reinier Saxton of the Netherlands and South Africa’s Peter Karmis, who both shot 64 on the West Course to be level at 7 under.

Retief Goosen was T-12 after a 66.