Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell, the past two U.S. Open winners, are second along with Scotland’s Stephen Gallacher and Martin Laird.
Americans Gary Woodland and Matt Kuchar are another stroke back along with the Netherlands’ Robert-Jan Derksen and Joost Luiten.
AUSTRALIAN PGA: In Coo-lum, Australia, Australia’s Steven Bowditch and South Korea’s Choi Joon-woo shot 6-under 66s to share the first-round lead.
American Bubba Watson is a stroke back along with Australians Aaron Baddeley, Andre Stolz and Aaron Townsend. British Open champion Darren Clarke and Rickie Fowler are in a group at 69.
SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN: In Johannesburg, Steven O’Hara and local favorite Jbe Kruger shot 7-under 65s to share the lead after the first round.
The pair lead a group of four South Africans by a stroke on the undulating Jack Nicklaus-designed course at Serengeti Golf Club. Two-time champion Retief Goosen (66) is in that group.
Defending champion Ernie Els began his defense with 69.
• Organizers of the South African Open say John Daly did not “snub” their tournament and that he was simply unable to travel to Johannesburg in time.
Promoter Mbali Ngqula dismissed reports that Daly had refused to play the European Tour event after his fiery exit from the recent Australian Open, where he hit a string of shots into a lake and then quit saying he had run out of balls.
Ngqula said on Thursday “it is wrong to suggest that John snubbed our invitation, he did no such thing.” Ngqula said Daly was “very willing” to play the South African Open but had been unable to make it in time.