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Bogey-free 64 gives Cejka Heritage advantage

  • Story Highlights
  • Germany's Alex Cejka holds opening round lead at the Verizon Heritage event
  • Cejka cards bogey-free round of 64 to lead American Lee Janzen by one shot
  • 2008 Masters winner Trevor Immelman cards a five-under-par 66 for third place
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(CNN) -- Germany's Alex Cejka grabbed the first-round lead at the Verizon Heritage event on Thursday, firing a bogey-free seven-under-par 64 on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

German Cejka leads the Verizon Heritage field despite still recovering from a neck injury.

German Cejka leads the Verizon Heritage field despite still recovering from a neck injury.

Cejka leads the tournament by one stroke from American Lee Janzen, with the two-time US Open champion posting an inward nine of 31 having started on the 10th tee for only his fourth sub-70 round of the year.

Cejka is still recovering from neck surgery he underwent last September having pinched a nerve at the British Open last July and he returned to action at the start of the year looking only to get fit.

"My goal is to stay healthy," Cejka told reporters.

"The last couple of years, I've been a little bit unlucky with injuries. I had the neck surgery, also, where I was off for three months. I just lost all my strength in the left side. So it was tough to come back," he added.

South Africa's Trevor Immelman failed to successfully defend his Masters title at Augusta but put disappointing early-season form behind him to finish in a tie for 20th in the opening major of the year.

That good form continued at Harbour Town where, despite closing with a bogey five on the ninth hole, Immelman shot a five-under 66 to finish the day in third place.

Americans Ted Purdy and Brian Gay finished a further shot behind with 67s with Jose Maria Olazabal part of an 11-man group on three-under.

That group also included Ernie Els, Australian trio Rod Pampling, Aron Price and Stephen Leaney and Americans Bob Estes, Bill Haas, Todd Hamilton, Cliff Kresge, Jeff Maggert and Tim Petrovic.

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