Grace, Koepka share 1st-round lead at SA Open

Grace, Koepka share 1st-round lead at SA Open

Last year Storm was surprised by eventually conquering Rory McIlroy in a three-hole play-off and Paisley was perhaps even more impressive in keeping at bay the advances of South Africa's red-hot favourite Branden Grace.

"She doesn't play golf but she knows her way around a golf course". "I'm just really excited about it". "I hit a poor shot and saved about a 12-footer for bogey there so it was big to start off my round".

"Yeah, obviously being tied for the lead isn't a position I've been in a lot", Paisley said.

The best previous showings on the European Tour by the 31-year-old, who won twice while a student at the University of Tennessee and who turned professional in 2009, came at the BMW International Open (third in 2015), the Italian Open (third in 2016) and the Made in Denmark tournament (third last year).

"I can't wait for the weekend", said Paisley, who won the 2012 English Challenge on the European Challenge Tour.

The world number 30 - the highest-ranked player in the field - recovered with an eagle from three feet on the par-five 13th, but Paisley birdied the same hole and also matched Grace's birdie on the 15th. "On moving day, sometimes you can push too hard, but I just needed one to go in", Grace said after his round. His round included seven birdies and two dropped shots.

Grace eagled the 13th but his determined playing partner wasn't letting up.

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Paisley began the round one shot up on Grace, but the World No. 30 and eight-time European Tour victor got off to a birdie-eagle start to jump to the top of the leader board.

A further shot back, at eight-under, is a big group including Zimbabwe's Scott Vincent, veteran South African Retief Goosen and joint leaders after the first round, local man Brandan Grace and the USA's Chase Koepka.

He may have reason to dwell on opening rounds of 72 and 70. I could have been eight-under for the round but instead I was six shots back.

Early in his third round it appeared Grace would not be among the contenders as he went to the turn just 1-under for the day and six off the pace being set by Paisley.

"I felt comfortable with my swing".

The 25-year-old added he wasn't aware he was in with a chance of breaking the course record, seemingly more keen to get a picture of himself with tournament host Ernie Els.

"I guess my putting was good today".

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