Henning sets pace in Joburg

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Henning, who has the lowest possible world ranking of joint 1,555th, produced seven birdies and eagle during a faultless round that equaled Desvonde Botes??? course record.

The 45-year-old looked in contention to post the European Tour???s first ever 59 after reaching the turn at seven-under, but could only manage two further gains on the back nine.??

Compatriot Titch Moore is one shot back after registering the European Tour’s 17th hole-in-one of the season by holing at the par-three fifth.

Moore had already made three early birdies, before posting three more during a blemish-free round to sit tied-second on eight-under with??Tjaart Van Der Walt – who struck ten birdies on an impressive opening day – and Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.

Pieters made seven birdies from his first 12 holes, before holing a 20-feet eagle chip at the par-five 15th to move nine-under. The Belgian dropped a shot by three-putting the next, but made amends with a gain at the 17th. A clumsy chip at the last led to a second blemish, but Pieters was still pleased with a ???good start??? to the week.

???You need to make a good score on this course, so I???m happy and hopefully we???ll have more of the same tomorrow,??? the world No 157 said. ???It???s very possible to go low on the East. The par-five???s are very reachable for me, so I???m going to take advantage of those.???

The bumper 210-man field is split between the West and East courses for the first two rounds, with the majority of the lower opening round scores coming from those tackling the West first.??

Two more South African’s, Dean Burmester and Garth Mulroy, sit third on seven-under alongside Australia’s Jason Scrivener – who didn’t drop a shot in a birdie-filled 64.??

Sam Hutsby looks set to end a run of six successive missed cuts after carding an opening round 66, the joint-lowest score from the East course alongside South Africa’s??Wallie Coetsee, to join eight players three strokes off the pace.

???I think it???s a good draw to make a decent score on this course to try to settle in,??? Hutsby said.?????I???ve missed my last six cuts so I???ve been really poor this year, but I???m pretty confident I can make the weekend now and try to push on.???

Newly-appointed Ryder Cup Captain Darren Clarke, without a European Tour top-ten finish since 2011, ended with back-to-back birdies to sign for an erratic par 72 on the East course.

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