Weather foils Schwartzel as McGrane and Elson lead

    Damien McGrane is looking to claim just his second European Tour victory in South Africa.

    Story highlights

    • Damien McGrane and Jamie Elson lead after the first round of the Joburg Open in South Africa
    • The pair card eight-under-par rounds of 63 on a day interrupted by electric storms
    • Among those unable to finish their round was Masters champion Charl Schwartzel
    • Schwartzel aiming to become sixth player to win a European event for three years in a row
    Poor weather conditions halted Charl Schwartzel's attempts to enter the record books, as Ireland's Damien McGrane and Englishman Jamie Elson shared the first round lead in the Joburg Open on Thursday.
    Schwartzel is aiming to become only the sixth player in European Tour history to win the same tournament three years in a row.
    However, electric storms halted play for more than four hours at both courses being played, leaving Schwartzel as one of the players unable to complete their rounds.
    Schwartzel was level par after 15 holes when bad light meant he could not continue, leaving him well behind the pace set by McGrane and Elson -- who both carded eight-under-par rounds of 63.
    The pair are one stroke ahead of South African duo Desvonde Botes and Peter Karmis and Dutchman Reinier Saxton in the second event of the 2012 European Tour -- one of only three tournaments on the circuit that uses more than one course.
    McGrane, world ranked 250, carded seven birdies and an eagle, with only a final hole bogey spoiling his round.
    "For the last three or four years Irish golf has been quite incredible, and I think we feed off each other. For a small nation it sure is great to be there or thereabouts," McGrane -- whose only previous victory came in the 2008 Volvo China Open -- told the official European Tour website.
    "I hit plenty of fairways and holed a few nice putts for birdie, it was just the bogey at the last which was disappointing. Apart from that it was a perfect round of golf," he added.
    Meanwhile, Elson matched McGrane's score on the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington West Course, as he celebrates returning to the Tour after coming through Qualifying School at the end of last year.