Home Player Oliver Bekker Leads Alfred Dunhill in South Africa

Oliver Bekker during the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championships at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club

Oliver Bekker during the first round of the Alfred Dunhill Championships at Leopard Creek Country Golf Club

Bekker, who turned 34 this week and is ranked No. 305 in the world, hit four successive birdies on the newly refurbished course, nestled against the backdrop of the Kruger National Park, in the European Tour event.

Bekker coped well with the blustery conditions as he eased to the turn in 33 with three birdies and one bogey, and he then raced into the lead with four consecutive birdies from the 11th which lifted him to six under par.

South African Oliver Bekker shot seven birdies for an opening round of 66 on Thursday, taking a one shot lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek Country Club.

Bekker was fortunate to play when the wind died down.

Raphael Jacquelin was third at four under and nine players, including defending champion Brandon Stone, were another shot further back. The greens are really firm but I drove it well so I was in fairway most of the time so I could control my ball.

"The changes to the course are clearly good for my game. I, traditionally, have not played that great over here but today I felt like it suited my game a little bit better, so I'm looking forward to what this week's got in store".

Stone got to four under before dropping his only shot of the round at the seventh - his 16th - and parred in to card a 69, a score matched by the Scottish duo of David Drysdale and Liam Johnston, Spaniard Pablo Larrazabal and Ryder Cup vice-captain Robert Karlsson.

Favourite Charl Schwartzel of South Africa, a four-time victor of the Dunhill Championship, could manage only one birdie as he began with a one-over 73.

Among those on 69 is defending champion Brandon Stone while Louis Oosthuizen, victor of his first South African Open title last Sunday, carded a 71.

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