|South African Open first-round leaderboard|
|-7 B Grace (SA), C Koepke (US); -6 C Paisley (Eng); -5 B Neil (Sco), N Elvira (Spa), E Van Rooyen, R Sterne (SA)|
|Selected others:-4 M Wallace (Eng); -3 O Fisher, R Bland (Eng); -1 E Els (SA); +3 G Storm (Eng); +7 T Immelman (SA)|
Branden Grace scored three eagles in a seven-under-par 65 for a share of the lead after the South African Open’s first round.
The 29-year-old South African also carded three birdies and two bogeys to match American Chase Koepka.
Chris Paisley hit seven birdies and a bogey in a round of 66 and is one shot behind at the European Tour event.
But his fellow Englishman Graeme Storm – the defending champion – carded a three-over-par 75.
Trevor Immelman, the 2008 US Masters champion, also endured a difficult start, scoring five bogeys and a double-bogey in a seven-over-par 79.
The four-round tournament is the second oldest Open championship in the world, having first been formally played in 1903.
World number 30 Grace, the highest ranked player in the field, scored all his eagles on par-five holes and secured his third with an excellent 20-foot putt on the 15th hole.
“I can’t remember when, or if, I’ve ever made three eagles in a round but it was fun,” he said.
“I was a little bit rusty with some of the wedge shots but all in all I’m very pleased with the outcome. It’s a great start to 2018 and it’s always nice to play back in South Africa.”