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Five share early Africa Open advantage

South African Richard Sterne is one of five players to share the lead after the opening of the Africa Open.
South African Richard Sterne is one of five players to share the lead after the opening of the Africa Open.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • South African and Scandinavian golfers share the lead after the first round of the Africa Open
  • Richard Sterne, Trevor Fisher, Titch Moore, Dane Mark Haastrup and Swede Patrick Sjoland all card 66s
  • Thomas Aiken, Keith Horne, Charl Schwartzel and Tjaart van der Walt lie joint second a stroke behind

(CNN) -- South African and Scandinavian golfers share the lead after the first round of the Africa Open -- the latest addition to the European Tour schedule.

Richard Sterne, Trevor Fisher, Titch Moore, Dane Mark Haastrup and Swede Patrick Sjoland top the leaderboard on 66, seven-under-par for the 6,038m East London Club course.

South Africans Thomas Aiken, Keith Horne, Charl Schwartzel and Tjaart van der Walt lay joint second, one shot behind the leaders.

Former South African Open champion James Kingston is among those on 68, while crowd favorite Darren Clarke from Northern Ireland returned a 69 to stay in contention for the first prize.

Some big names struggled on a day when the potentially fearsome wind did not wreak havoc -- with Swede Joakim Haeggman managing only a par 73 while Englishman Nick Dougherty slumped to a 76 and is already in trouble.

A Briton in better form was Robert Coles, who reeled off six consecutive birdies on his back nine before a penultimate-hole bogey saw him finish on five-under.

South Africans will be desperate to impress, after Spaniard Pablo Martin and Scot Richie Ramsay last month won the first two of four European Tour events being staged in their country.