Branden Grace and Chase Koepka posted matching 7-under 65s in the opening round of the BMW SA Open Championship, and share a one-shot lead after 18 holes at Glendower Golf Club.
Koepka’s round included two bogeys, one eagle, and seven birdies, highlighted by a stretch of three straight, and four over five holes (12, 13, 14, and 16), en route to the day’s low-round.
“It was great. I think I played flawless, except for the second shot on the first hole,” said Koepka, the younger brother of reigning U.S. Open champion Brooks. “I hit a poor shot there and saved it with a 12-footer for a bogey. I made eagle on the second hole and kind of kept it going from there.
“Inside 150 yards, I was really good today. I didn’t have too many shot from inside 150, but every one that I had, I was hitting them close.”
Grace, meanwhile, signed for a scorecard with three birdies, two bogeys and a hat trick of eagles (2, 8, and 15), to tie the rookie Koepka for the first-round lead.
England’s Chris Paisley is one back at 6-under 66, following a round of seven birdies against one bogey.
Former British Amateur champion winner Bradley Neil was at 5-under 67, and tied for fourth, alongside South Africans Erik van Rooyen and Richard Sterne, and Spain’s Nacho Elvira.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel turned at 1-over 37, but reeled off five birdies down the stretch to finish with a respectable 3-under 69. Defending champion Graeme Storm struggled to a 3-over par 75.
TOP 10: ROUND ONE
1 Branden Grace -7
1 Chase Koepka -7
3 Chris Paisley -6
4 Erik Van Rooyen -5
4 Richard Sterne -5
4 Nacho Elvira -5
4 Bradley Neil -5
8 Nine players tied at -4
SHOT OF THE DAY
Welshman Jamie Donaldson aces the par-3 14th hole.
“The putter was really hot on the front nine and then I had a bunch of short putts on the back nine which helped a little bit.”
– Chase Koepka
Credits: European Tour Media, Getty Images