Golf: Garbutt gains as Els wilts in heat

ENGLAND'S IAN GARBUTT was among a trio of players who carded a four-under-par round of 67 to share a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the South African Open in Stellenbosch. Garbutt, Germany's Sven Struver and Ronnie McCann, a South African who has settled in the United States, moved to the head of the leaderboard as local players battled to overcome the sweltering conditions.

They included the pre-tournament favourite, Ernie Els, who won last week's Alfred Dunhill PGA Championship in Johannesburg but could only manage a level-par 71 yesterday. "It was pretty hot out there," said Els. "It's a tough course in the afternoon. The greens are really firm and there was a bit of a breeze, which makes it difficult to keep the ball on the fairway."

Lying joint second on three under were Germany's Alexander Cejka and the South African James Kingston, the only local player to come to terms with the conditions. The Welshman Mark Mouland and Ireland's Paul McGinley were among the players a shot further back on 69 while the former world No 1, Nick Faldo, opened with a one-under 70.

Another Englishman, Anthony Wall, scored a hole in one at the par-three 13th but he had to settle for a two-over-par 73.

The three leaders had all teed off by 7.20am and were back in the clubhouse before the heat of the day had reached its peak of around 35C. A high of 38C is forecast for today.

Garbutt grabbed five birdies and carded just one dropped shot when three- putting from the fringe at the sixth, while Struver, a former South African PGA champion, and McCann bagged four birdies each.

Garbutt, a former English amateur champion, recorded his best round on the European Tour and acknowledged the early tee-off time had been to his advantage.

"To go out at 6.50am was a perfect start. I definitely had the best of the weather because it was cool with hardly any wind," said Garbutt, whose previous best finish was seventh in last year's Dutch Open. "I hit some good iron shots and my putting was much better than in the PGA last week when I finished 38th."

Faldo, who notched up two birdies and an eagle but also carded three bogeys, was another player who teed off early.

"There is no wind and conditions are just perfect for scoring," he said after his round. "The greens are holding, it's there for the taking. Par should be 68, absolute max. Ernie should shoot 65 or 66, and others, too."

However, as the heat increased and the wind picked up, Els struggled after teeing off just before midday despite the overwhelming support of a vocal crowd. The South African began with four straight pars before birdieing the fifth and sixth and looked set for a repeat of his performance last week when he won by a comfortable four shots. But he came adrift at the eighth where, after recovering from a bunker, he missed a short putt to log a bogey five.

On the back nine Els bogeyed holes 10 and 11 before steadying himself and he managed to pull back the two dropped shots by birdieing the 12th and 14th holes only to bogey the 18th to finish the day level.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

£45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

£17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable