Pros advice

Fichardt’s Early Lead Shows Home Is Where The Heart Is

Pretoria native Darren Fichardt is finding there’s no place like home as he’s once again handily placed at the top of the leaderboard after an opening round of seven under par 65 gave him a one stroke lead at the Tshwane Open.

This comes less than a fortnight after the South African survived a late wobble to win his fourth European Tour title by two shots on the final day of the Africa Open again on home soil at the East London Golf Course in East Cape.

He had five birdies on his front nine of a course designed by South African golf legend Ernie Els and a further three on his second nine before briefly coming unstuck at the 390-yard seventh hole.

‘What a funny game,’ said Fichardt. ‘I birdied all of the tough holes on this great course and then I bogey the easiest one. That is how this game is.’

Sweden’s Bjorn Akesson climbed the leaderboard in spectacular fashion and came within a stroke of matching Fichardt’s score with a after a birdie-birdie-eagle run from the 13th saw him draw level, but a bogey at the 17th and a par on the par-four 18th left him with a six under par 66 and cost him a share of the lead.

    1st Round Leading Scores

  • -7 (65) – Darren Fichardt
  • -6 (66) — Bjorn Akesson
  • -5 (67) – Gary Lockerbie, Mark Tullo, Jeev Milkha Singh, Jean Hugo, David Howell
  • -4 (68) – Simon Wakefield, Damien McGrane, Vaughn Groenewald, Peter Uihlein, Merrick Bremner, Joel Sjoholm, Dawie van der Walt, Mikko Korhonen, Shaun Smith, David Horsey, Dean Burmester.