January 14, 2016 / 3:41 PM / 3 years ago

Walters takes first round lead at Joburg Open

Justin Walters of South Africa takes a shot on the 9th fairway during the second round of the 2014 Omega Dubai Desert Classic in Dubai January 31, 2014. REUTERS/Caren Firouz

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African Justin Walters continued his fine start to the year with a birdie on the final hole for an opening round 65 and a one-shot lead at the European Tour’s Joburg Open on Thursday.

Walters finished tied fourth at the South African Open last weekend and looked assured again on the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club’s east course in a seven-under round that included an eagle, six birdies and a single dropped shot.

He leads a group of six players one stroke back — Englishmen Anthony Wall and David Howell, the Swedish pair of Michael Jonzon and Johan Carlsson, Zimbabwean Mark Williams and home player Haydn Porteous.

Two-time European Tour winner Jonzon does not yet have his card for this season and was the last of the 210-player field to gain entry to the tournament.

Home favorite Ernie Els carded a one-under par 71, while newly-crowned SA Open champion Brandon Stone was a shot better off.

There is extra incentive for players at the Joburg Open this week — the top three will gain entry into the 145th British Open at Royal Troon in July.

Reporting by Nick Said; editing by Justin Palmer; nick.said@thomsonreuters.com; +27832722948; Reuters Messaging: Reuters Messaging: nick.said.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net

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