O’Hara Leads at South African Open in Hopes of Reining European Tour Card





DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 19:  Ernie Els...

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Scotland’s Steven O’Hara and South Africa’s Jbe Kruger fired a 7-under 65 Thursday to take the joint first-round lead at the South African Open.

The two golfers were one shot ahead of four South African golfers at the course at Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate designed by Jack Nicklaus. Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen was part of this group hit a 66 after firing three bogeys, seven birdies and an eagle at the European Tour tournament.

South Africa’s current champion Ernie Els made a 69 in an effort to regain his title. The five-time South African Open champion fired six birdies overshadowed by three bogeys.

O’Hara ranked 134th needs to finish at least in the top four to get his European Tour card next season. He made five birdies and a bogie at the fourth but compensated with an eagle and a birdie.

Top-ranked player Simon Dyson shot just a 70 to round out the strongest group at the $1.3 million event.

The tournament is especially important as there is just one tournament left, the Dubai World Championship, anв  some golfers with the precarious position want to retain their European Tour cards.