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

Walters takes first round lead at Joburg Open

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.

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

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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