Darren Fichardt in swing again with fine 65

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Darren Fichardt topped the leaderboard on day one of the inaugural Tshwane Open after he carded a seven-under-par round of 65 at the Copperleaf Golf & Country Estate.

The South African, who is bidding to claim his second successive win on home soil after victory in the Africa Open two weeks ago, scored 31 on the back nine before firing birdies on the first, fourth and sixth holes to take a one-stroke lead over countryman Keith Horne and Sweden’s Bjorn Akesson.

Fichardt, 37, showed his intent on the Ernie Els-designed course as he claimed one of his birdies on the 685-yard fourth hole – the longest in European Tour history.

“The swing is good and I’m putting well,” Fichardt told europeantour.com after his round. “This golf course is awesome – it’s very fair. The greens are very soft, so you’re able to attack the flags. I’m happy with seven under to start off with.

“Right now it’s been eight weeks in a row [for me] and I don’t even know what’s going on. I’m just going with the flow.”

Scotland’s Marc Warren opened with a 70, one better than compatriot Peter Whiteford, while Scott Henry had a 72. David Drysdale and Chris Doak had to settle for 73s and Callum Macaulay signed for a 77.