Maritz, Mordt lead in Johannesburg

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, Last Updated: 11:51 AM ET

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Martin Maritz and Tyrone Mordt both shot a nine-under 62 Thursday to take the first-round lead at the Joburg Open.

Maritz recorded nine birdies without a bogey to set the East Course record, while Mordt did the same to tie the West Course mark. Play rotates over the first two rounds between the East and West Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Course. The East Course hosts all players in the final two rounds over the weekend.

Both Maritz and Mordt, primarily Sunshine Tour players, are still looking for their first tournament victory. The Sunshine Tour is co-sponsoring this event.

Branden Grace was alone in third after shooting an eight-under 63, and Alexandre Kaleka and Thomas Aiken are tied for fourth at seven-under 64.

Defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who held the East Course record until Maritz's round on Thursday, made four birdies and a bogey and is tied for 40th at three-under 68.

The West Course played much easier throughout the day, with 21 of the top 26 players competing on it Thursday. Maritz, however, was the leading exception, though he disagreed with the notion that the East Course was more difficult.

"That's what everybody thinks, but over the last few years, I think I've played better on the East Course," Maritz said. "I think it's because in junior days and amateur days we played a lot of tournaments on that course."

Maritz, one of four South Africans among the top-five, began his round with two consecutive birdies before three straight pars. He added birdies at the sixth and eighth to head to the back nine at four-under.

A string of four consecutive birdies beginning with the 13th vaulted Maritz to one behind Mordt before he finished the round with a birdie at the par-five 18th to pull into a tie for first.

"I think if I can shoot anything close to that tomorrow, I'll be very, very happy," Maritz said.

Mordt, playing on the easier West Course, also started with two birdies. He finished the front nine at five-under after birdies at six, eight and nine.

He began the back nine with two pars before four straight birdies from the 12th through the 15th vaulted him into the lead. He completed the round with three pars.

"My putter got hot on the back nine," Mordt said. "I didn't necessarily hit it that well, but I holed four long putts in a row, and that helped me out a lot."

Grace had six birdies and an eagle on the par-five ninth on the West Course to make up his eight-under. Another South African from the Sunshine Tour, Grace is seeking his second career victory after capturing the 2010 Coca Cola Championship.

"I thought beforehand that one of the keys was to go low on the West (Course), and, fortunately, I managed to do it today," Grace said.

NOTES: Seve Benson was disqualified from the event...Richard Sterne, the 2008 champion here, shot a three-under 68 and is tied for 40th. 2007 champ Ariel Canete shot a four-over 75 and is tied for 182nd...This is the last of four straight European Tour events in South Africa.


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