Niall Kearney best of the Irish after first day at Joburg Open

Spain’s Angel Hidalgo set the clubhouse target before bad weather brought an early end to day one of the Joburg Open at Randpark.

The threat of lightning forced play to be suspended shortly after 5pm local time, with Hidalgo among the players safely in the clubhouse following an opening six-under-par 65.

The 23-year-old recorded an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys to lead by one from England’s Ashley Chesters, with South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli part of a seven-strong group a shot further back on four under.

Niall Kearney was the best of the Irish after the first round with the Royal Dublin man carding a round of 70 for one under par. Jonny Caldwell was level par with two to play in his first round when play was stopped while Paul Dunne was three over par through 15. Cormac Sharvin endured a nightmare day which included a double bogey, seven bogeys and just two birdies on route to a seven over par round of 78.

Hidalgo, who claimed his maiden title on the Challenge Tour in 2021 and won twice on the Alps Tour, said: “It was a lot of fun.

“This was like my third DP World Tour event in three years, so I was a bit nervous early in my round. But this start means a lot to me. It gives me a lot of confidence. It’s great to be here and playing with the best, so let’s start the party.”

Frittelli, who finished fifth in last November’s Masters and in the same position in the British Open in July, vowed to continue taking an aggressive approach after his opening 67.

“I’m just going to keep smashing the driver out there,” the world number 112 said. “I think if I can hit driver as far as I can it’s going to benefit me. I’m just going to keep my foot on the gas.

“In a lot of these Sunshine Tour events I’ve been a little bit cautious and tried to just keep it in play, but now I’m just going to go at it full tilt and see where it ends up after 72 holes.”

Pre-tournament favourite Dean Burmester, who hit the opening tee shot of the newly-named DP World Tour, is seven shots off the pace after an opening 72.

Compatriot JC Ritchie made a hole-in-one on the par-three 17th but cruelly missed out on winning the Jaguar XJR parked behind the tee, the prize only being on offer for the first ace in rounds three or four.

Completed first round scores at the Joburg Open (British unless stated)

Play suspended due to inclement weather

65 Angel Hidalgo (Spa)

67 Dylan Frittelli (Rsa), Hennie Du Plessis (Rsa), Frederic Lacroix (Fra), Alfredo Garcia-Heredia (Spa), Pep Angles (Spa)

68 Shaun Norris (Rsa), Stephen Ferreira (Por), Masahiro Kawamura (Jpn), Dale Whitnell, Ross Fisher, Yannik Paul (Ger), Ashley Chesters, Renato Paratore (Ita), Oliver Farr

69 Michael Palmer (Rsa), Justin Harding (Rsa), Jean Hugo (Rsa), Oliver Bekker (Rsa), Chase Hanna (USA), Aaron Cockerill (Can)

70 Daniel Gavins, Benjamin Follett-Smith (Zim), Ruan Conradie (Rsa), Keenan Davidse (Rsa), Callum Mowat (Rsa), Merrick Bremner (Rsa), Oliver Wilson, Robin Sciot-Siegrist (Fra), Niall Kearney (Irl), Jens Fahrbring (Swe), Chris Cannon

71 Madalitso Muthiya (Zam), Wilco Nienaber (Rsa), Anton Karlsson (Swe), Alexander Haindl (Rsa), Brandon Stone (Rsa), Martin Rohwer (Rsa), Louis de Jager (Rsa), Jacques Kruyswijk (Rsa), MJ Viljoen (Rsa), Thomas Aiken (Rsa), James du Preez (Rsa), Richie Ramsay, Darius van Driel (Ned), Romain Langasque (Fra), David Drysdale, Ricardo Gouveia (Por), Bryce Easton (Rsa), Zhengkai Bai (Chn), Luca Filippi (Rsa), Rupert Kaminski (Rsa)

72 Dean Burmester (Rsa), Steven Brown, Johannes Veerman (USA), Martin Vorster (Rsa), Nikhil Rama (Rsa), J. C. Ritchie (Rsa), Jaco Ahlers (Rsa), Jaco Prinsloo (Rsa), Daniel van Tonder (Rsa), Daniel Greene (Rsa), Estiaan Conradie (Rsa), Jacques Blaauw (Rsa), Darren Fichardt (Rsa), Marcus Helligkilde (Den), Haydn Porteous (Rsa), Lars van Meijel (Ned), Kristof Ulenaers (Bel)

73 Rourke van der Spuy (Rsa), Ockie Strydom (Rsa), Jack Harrison, Justin Walters (Rsa), Matthias Schmid (Ger), Daan Huizing (Ned), David Howell, Joel Stalter (Fra), Ruan Korb (Rsa)

74 Graeme Storm, Pieter Moolman (Rsa), James Kingston (Rsa), George Coetzee (Rsa), Richard McEvoy, Lorenzo Gagli (Ita), Ugo Coussaud (Fra), Lee Slattery

75 Lyle Rowe (Rsa), Dylan Naidoo (Rsa), Deon Germishuys (Rsa), Hurly Long (Ger), Ricardo Santos (Por), Matt Ford, Dwayne Basson (Rsa), Jason Smith (Rsa)

76 Angus Flanagan, Luke Jerling (Rsa), Jakobus Roos (Rsa), Matthew Jordan, Andrew Wilson, Alphuis Kelapile (Rsa)

77 Jovan Rebula (Rsa), Toto Thimba Jr. (Rsa), Ruan de Smidt (Rsa), Craig Howie

78 James Kamte (Rsa), Jayden Schaper (Rsa), Richard Sterne (Rsa), Steve Surry, Cormac Sharvin (NIrl)

79 Liam Johnston

81 J. J. Senekal (Rsa), Christiaan Basson (Rsa), Carlos Pigem (Spa),Shalan Govender (Rsa)


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