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Jeppesen and Fisher leading Joburg Open

  • Story Highlights
  • Steven Jeppesen shares lead with Trevor Fisher after Joburg Open first round
  • The pair card eight-under 63s to hold one-stroke advantage from Michael Hoey
  • Defending champion Richard Sterne cards a disappointing opening round of 71
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(CNN) -- Sweden's Steven Jeppesen shares the lead with Trevor Fisher of South Africa after the pair carded opening-round eight-under-par 63s at the Joburg Open on Thursday.

Jeppesen's best finish on the European Tour was his second place in the 2004 Madeira Open.

Jeppesen's best finish on the European Tour was his second place in the 2004 Madeira Open.

Jeppesen, who had an afternoon tee-off at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club, matched his rival's earlier effort in a superb round that included two eagles and five birdies on the west course.

Playing on the same 18 holes, Fisher was the clubhouse leader for most of the day with an astonishing six birdies through his opening nine holes setting him on his way.

Michael Hoey from Northern Ireland is a shot back after his round of 64 in the co-sanctioned European and Sunshine Tour event, with Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, Edoardo Molinari, Patrik Sjoland, Andrew McLardy, Rafael Cabrera Bello and David Drysdale all on six-under-par -- the latter two being the only players amongst the leaders to shoot bogey-free rounds.

Jeppesen, 24, who has never won on the European Tour with his best position being tied second at the Madeira Island Open in 2004, admitted afterwards that he was just thrilled with his start.

"It was a good round today and I'm very pleased," he told PA Sport. "It started well with that eagle on the second and then I had a good couple of opportunities on three and four. Before I went out there I saw that there were a lot of guys shooting good scores today on the first six holes."

Fisher has previously won the Botswana Open, Eskom Power Cup and Seekers Travel Pro-Am -- all lesser-known Sunshine Tour events.

He showed impressive form on the opening day and attributed his performance to a flying front nine. He said: "It's always nice to have a good start. You open up with a little six-under and yeah, I started birdie, birdie which was good.

"I had nice rhythm today and I putted really well. I gave myself some nice opportunities. I was quite patient which is a good thing for me as I don't feel rushed, and maybe I can maintain it now for three more days."

Defending champion Richard Sterne will have to dig deep over the next three days if he is to defend his title after ending a disappointing opening round with a level-par 71.

He said: "I actually got off to a decent start, but felt a little tired and made really weak birdies on the back nine. Tomorrow I can hopefully do something good and get back into it. It's a strange game and you never know what you are going to get really."

The first two rounds of the tournament are taking place on both the east and west courses after which the last two rounds will finish on the east.

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