JOHANNESBURG — Germany's Maximilian Kiefer and South Africa's Richard Sterne shot 8-under 63s Thursday to share the lead after the first round of the European Tour's Joburg Open.
Kiefer, who finished second at the Dubai Desert Classic, and Sterne had bogey-free rounds on the West Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club.
''You feel you need to put a good score together on the West Course and I did that,'' said Sterne, who eagled No. 9. ''Now I've got three tough rounds on the East and hopefully I can give myself a chance on Sunday.''
South Africa's Bryce Easton had a 7-under 65 on the East Course that included a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th. American Peter Uihlein was one of eight players tied for fourth at 6 under.
Defending champion Branden Grace and two-time winner Charl Schwartzel also began on the East Course, but both struggled. Schwartzel opened with a 68 for a tie for 25th and Grace finished at 72, marked by a double-bogey 6 at No. 11.
Kiefer, a recent graduate of the Challenge Tour, began with five birdies on the front nine.
''I've been playing well and am just trying to stay positive on the golf course,'' he said. ''When you come from the Challenge Tour everybody says you are good enough for the European Tour. But you still want to prove your worth out here.''