Scot James Wilson leads South African Stroke-Play Championship

Balmore's James Wilson on his way to an eight-under-par 64 in the first round of the South African Stroke-Play Championship at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg
Balmore's James Wilson on his way to an eight-under-par 64 in the first round of the South African Stroke-Play Championship at Randpark Golf Club in Johannesburg
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Balmore’s James Wilson, winner of the 2018 Welsh Amateur Stroke Play Championship, is off to a flying start in his bid to land the South African equivalent in Johannesburg.

Part of a Scottish Golf contingent, he carded an eagle and seven birdies to set the pace with an eight-under-par 64 on a rain-softened Firethorn Course at Randpark Golf Club.

Wilson, who reeled off three birdies in a row from the second before making his eagle at the par-5 14th, leads by a shot from England’s Haider Hussain in a strong field for the Golf RSA event.

“I played really nicely; hit a lot of fairways and most of the greens and I took advantage of the par fives,” said Wilson.

“The tees were up so just a lot of short irons in and I played sensible on the tougher strokes.”

The Scot only managed to break par once in last week's African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at the demanding Leopard Creek.

“This course is way more forgiving,” he added. “The greens are not as grainy and less slopey and it’s not as penal off the tees. It’s been more relaxing around here and it’s not as long.”

It was also a good day’s work by Connor Wilson as the Castle Park player shot a 67, which was sparked by an eagle at the second and left him in a tie for fifth, just ahead of newly-crowned African Amateur champion Martin Vorster.

Stephen Roger (Peebles) and Stuart Easton (Irvine) were next best among the Scots with matching 70s, which left them alongside Amateur champion James Sugrue from Ireland, followed by Roger’s clubmate Darren Howie (72).

Also in the amateur ranks, Scottish No 1 Sandy Scott cemented his position in the world’s top 10 with a strong performance in Hawaii on the US college circuit.

Helped by a hole-in-one in the final round, the Walker Cup player from Nairn shot rounds of 68-72-67 for a nine-under total to finish joint-10th in the Amer Ari Invitational at Waikoloa.