Erik Van Rooyen continued his trend of starting brightly as he leads the way from a local perspective at the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco, writes WADE PRETORIUS.
The Challenge Tour graduate has performed well in his maiden season on the European Tour and once again laid a solid foundation on a day where scoring was tough.
Just 34 players completed the first round in red numbers with English duo Anthony Wall (+7) and Graeme Storm (+8) both withdrawing after a poor day at the Royal Golf Dar Es-Salam’s Red Course. Only England’s Richard Bland, Australian Brett Rumford and France’s Sebestien Gros fared worse. All shot a 81 today.
Van Rooyen, who won the Hainan Open last year on the Challenge Tour, went out in 32 thanks to two birdies in his opening three holes as he teed off on the 10th.
The 28-year-old, who finished T21 in Spain last week, bogeyed the 15th but then produced three birdies in a row to propel himself up the leaderboard.
A fairly quiet back nine ensued where his only non-par holes came on the eighth and ninth holes. Van Rooyen dropped his second shot of the day with a six on his penultimate hole but made a birdie two on the next hole to join the group of four players one shot behind Bradley Dredge on Thursday.
Richard Sterne and Darren Fichardt were the only other South Africans under par through 18 holes with as many as nine over par.
Photo: Andrew Redington/Getty Images
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