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Nixon leads by one, Schwartzel poised after 67

ESPN staff
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Matthew Nixon enjoyed a strong finish to his round to lead in Johannesburg © Getty Images
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Matthew Nixon holds a one-shot lead at the South African Open following a fine end to his first round at Glendower Golf Club, while Charl Schwartzel is poised three shots off the lead as he attempts to win his native championship for the first time in his career.

Nixon scored an eight-under 64 to move to the top of the leaderboard, which included seven birdies, an eagle and a solitary bogey.

Marco Crespi and Jbe Kruger both looked to be heading into round two as joint leaders before Nixon's late flourish; the pair will start their rounds on Friday one-shot off the lead following rounds of 65.

Meanwhile, Schwartzel enjoyed a faultless round of 67 to move well within contention. The South African is looking for his first ever victory in the national championship. Five birdies in his opening round, including successive birdies on the last two holes, made for a great start at the European Tour's 2014 opening event.

"It means a lot, I'd love to win the South African Open," Schwartzel said. "I did my preparation and figured out the way I want to play the golf course and it worked today.

"I've always had really good results in the South African Open, come close a few times. I reckon it's one of those where you have to keep at it and keep playing and it will come eventually."

Elsewhere, South African duo Christiaan Basson and Retief Goosen both scored 66, while Morten Orum Madsen, Andrea Pavan and Atti Schwartzel all sit at five-under.

Brit Ross Fisher is one-under for the tournament, but Stephen Swanepoel sits bottom of the field after his 17-over-par round of 89.

South African Open leaderboard

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