South African Basson races three clear at Dunhill event

Thu Nov 26, 2015 11:08am EST
 
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MALELANE, South Africa, (Reuters) - An eight-under 64 handed Christiaan Basson a three-shot lead on the first day of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Thursday, the opening event of the 2015-16 European Tour season.

The 27-year-old South African carded eight birdies at the Leopard Creek Country Club on the border of the Kruger National Park.

The golfers had to contend with temperatures close to 40 degrees Celsius and a thunderstorm later in the day that meant the first round was not completed.

Former U.S. Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who has won three times at Leopard Creek, had to leave the course on the 17th just as he was charging up the leaderboard at five under.

Qualifier Mark Williams of Zimbabwe, with birdies on his last two holes, and Englishman Matt Ford, who recently secured his Tour card, shot 67s earlier in the day.

Former Ryder Cup player Niclas Fasth of Sweden marked his 500th tour event by recording a 68. He was joined at four-under by six other players.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Tony Jimenez; mark.gleeson@thomsonreuters.com; +27828257807; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: mark.gleeson.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)