French, Polish golfers lead at Alfred Dunhill Championship as Wilco Nienaber battles
JOHANNESBURG – Poland's Adrian Meronk and Richard Roussel from France shared the Alfred Dunhill Championship first round lead on 65 Thursday, while South African big-hitter Wilco Nienaber carded a disappointing 71.
Meronk and Roussel shrugged off modest recent European Tour form with seven-under rounds over the Leopard Creek Country Club course near Malelane in northeastern South Africa.
Scott Jamieson from Scotland lies third after a 66 and Richard Bland of England carded a 67 for fourth place.
After three birdies and two bogeys on the front nine, 334-ranked Roussel birdied five straight holes from 10 and picked up another at the last.
Meronk eagled the sixth and final holes, birdied four and bogeyed one as he seeks a maiden European Tour title after turning professional four years ago.
Nienaber, the 20-year-old rising star of South African golf, finished runner-up in the Joburg Open, with a 439-yard altitude-assisted drive during the first round capturing international attention.
He seemed set for a low score after four birdies within six holes, but his round then went topsy-turvy with a double bogey, four bogeys and three birdies.
Nienaber, a winner of 21 amateur titles before turning professional last year, will hope for much better form Friday to avoid the embarrassment of missing the cut.
Joburg Open winner Joachim B. Hansen from Denmark opened with a two-under 70 over a course that borders the world renowned Kruger National Park game reserve.
Fresh from a maiden European Tour triumph, his card included six birdies, two bogeys and a double bogey six at the eighth.
🇫🇷 -7 Roussel— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 26, 2020
🇵🇱 -7 Meronk
🏴 -6 Jamieson
🏴 -5 Bland
🇲🇾 -4 Green
🇿🇦 -4 Strydom
🇪🇸 -4 Garcia Rodriguez
As it stands at the #DunhillChamps
Defending champion Pablo Larrazabal from Spain could manage only a two-over 74 marred by a double bogey and two bogeys.