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Van den Berg holds Alfred Dunhill lead

Ulrich van den Berg leads the way as the new European Tour season kicked into action in South Africa.
Ulrich van den Berg leads the way as the new European Tour season kicked into action in South Africa.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ulrich Van den Berg holds a one-stroke lead on the opening day of the new European Tour season
  • The South African carded a flawless eight-under-par 64 in the Alfred Dunhill Championship
  • The 34-year-old, ranked 657th in the world, is in front of Sweden's Pelle Edberg at Leopard Creek

(CNN) -- South African Ulrich Van den Berg banished the memories of a last round meltdown four years ago to take the lead after the opening day of the new European Tour season.

The 34-year-old, ranked 657th in the world, led the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek by four strokes with 12 holes to play in 2005, but then crashed to an inward 44.

He has missed the halfway cut in the event every year since, but a flawless eight-under-par 64 this time put him one shot in front of Swede Pelle Edberg.

Ernie Els, the player who took advantage of Van den Berg's collapse but had his own nightmare on the course two years ago with a closing triple bogey eight when two ahead, birdied the hole on his return and signed for a 68.

Van den Berg, who did not manage a single top 20 finish in 12 starts in Europe last season, came home in a five-under-par 30.

"I've been struggling with my game for at least a year now, and haven't been anywhere near my best," he said on the tournament's official Web site.

"I've felt my game has been coming around, but mentally I've just been all over the show.

"I felt very peaceful and relaxed out there. For me it always depends on my putting -- if it's good then I feel I can relax."