• Africa Open

Santos continues Africa form to lead at East London

ESPN staff
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Ricardo Santos has top 30 finishes in his last five events in South Africa © Getty Images
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Ricardo Santos enjoys playing in South Africa - and so it proved as the former European Tour Rookie of the Year carded a stunning 9-under 62 to lead after the first round of the Africa Open.

The 31-year-old from Portugal, whose only Tour victory came at the 2012 Madeira Islands Open, has finished in the top 30 in his last five events in South Africa, including a top 10 finish in this event last year, is two clear of a quartet of players at 7-under.

England's Richard Bland and Welshman Rhys Davies are in the trailing pack, alongside South African Garth Mulroy and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard.

"I played really solidly today and gave myself a lot of chances for birdie," Santos said. "And I took a lot of those chances. I'm very pleased to make a run like I did today.

"I hit the ball solidly from the tee and my putting was all good. To shoot minus nine you have to play awesome golf, so I'm really pleased with every piece of my game.

"If the wind blows this is a very tough course, but today if you put the ball in the fairway you had the chance to shoot a low round.

"I made nine under in Madeira to win the event, but I shot 63 there, because the par was 72. Today was definitely one of my best rounds of golf so far.

"I put the ball very close, didn't miss a fairway, and that's the key on this course."

Scotland's David Drysdale is in a six-strong group at 6-under par, while there are 18 players a shot back at 5-under, including Englishmen David Horsey, Matt Nixon, Simon Wakefield, Oli Fisher, Adam Gee and James Morrison.

Africa Open leaderboard

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