Santos Starts Out Hot in Africa Open

Portugal's Ricardo Santos fired a nine-birdie 62 to take the opening-round lead in the Africa Open. The European Tour event began Thursday at London Golf Club in East London, South Africa.

The 31-year-old Santos, whose lone win on the European circuit came in the 2012 Madeira Islands Open, had four birdies on the front nine before tacking on five more on the home half.

He enjoys a two-stroke lead over South Africa's Garth Mulroy, Wales' Rhys Davies, England's Richard Bland and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard.

"The shoot minus-9 you have to play awesome golf, so I'm really pleased with every piece of my game," Santos told the European Tour's website. "I played really solidly today and gave myself a lot of changes for birdie, and I took a lot of those chances.

"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."

The round matched his low mark on the European Tour. "I made 9-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," he added. "I put the ball very close, didn't miss a fairway, and that's the key on this course."

Six players - including Americans Brinson Paolini and John Hahn - carded 65s, while another 18 players posted 66s. In the latter group is defending champion, Darren Fichardt, who finished at 16-under par last year at London GC.

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