Fichardt Fires 9-Under 63 for Lead

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Sunshine TourDarren Fichardt fired a bogey-free 9-under par 63 on Thursday and holds a four-shot lead after the first round of the Vodacom Players Championship at the Royal Cape Golf Club, in Cape Town, South Africa.

Fichardt set the course record with nine birdies on the day, despite windy conditions, and almost had two more but his putts on both the 7th and 18th grees lipped-out.
 
'I've shot 61 three times and I wanted to break that and shoot 60 today. It was definitely in the back of my mind,' he said.
 
'The greens are fantastic, and the holes that have been lengthened play downwind, so instead of a 3-wood you end up taking a driver at most of them,' continued Fichardt.
 
Michiel Bothma, Andre Cruse, Sandeep Grewal and Robert Oosthuizen all tallied rounds of 5-under-par 67s and share second place.
 
Omar Sandy and Jaco Van zyl are together in sixth place with 4-under 68s.
 
Chris Davison, the 1999 champion, posted a 3-under-par 69 and is in a large group of nine golfers that are tied for eighth at minus-3.
 
Leader Fichardt used a pre-round talk with his sports psychologist wife, Natasha, to straighten out some swing problems going through his head.
 
'On the range this morning I felt I wasn't swinging well at all. My bad shot was very high and right, and you don't want that shot in your bag with the wind here. But my wife chatted to me and got me to focus on the positives,' he said. 'I was just hanging in there and trying to stay in the present.'
 
Scores from the Vodacom Players Championship