Harding 2 back after opening round in Nairobi

Mar 18, 2021 | Featured, South Africans abroad

Justin Harding made an eagle, five birdies and two bogeys on Thursday to card an opening five-under-par 66 in the opening round of the European Tour’s Magical Kenya Open at Karen Country Club in Nairobi.

That left him two off the pace set by Benjamin Hebert of France, who holds a one-stroke lead over a group of seven players on six-under. Harding shares ninth place with Gaganjeet Bhullar of India, America’s Julian Suri, and the English duo of Matthew Southgate and Dale Whitnell.

Next best of the South Africans were Wilco Nienaber, Justin Walters and Garrick Higgo, all on four-under in a share of 14th. Also on four-under was Welshman Rhys Enoch, who won the Sunshine Tour’s opening tournament of 2021, the Kit Kat Group Pro-Ama t Royal Johannesburg and Kensington two weeks back.

Jayden Schaper, who withdrew after the first round of last week’s Players Championship at Dainfern, was at three-under, together with Dean Burmester, Jacques Kruyswijk and Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent.

Darren Fichardt, celebrating his 400th start on the European Tour, was in a share of 48th at two-under with Sunshine Tour Order of Merit champion JC Ritchie. Haydn Porteous and Louis de Jager were a further stroke back, while George Coetzee and Matthiam Keyser were on one-over.

Daniel van Tonder was on three-over, while Zander Lombard slumped to 11-over-par 82.

The 34-year-old Hebert is looking for a first European Tour win in his 218th event, and he birdied the 18th to break out of the pack who finished at six-under.

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