Sterne sets early Joburg pace

An eight-under-par round of 63 helped the in-form Richard Sterne set the early pace on the opening morning of the Joburg Open.

The 31-year-old, a runner-up in Dubai last weekend, was one of the first out on course in his home tournament and made sure he set the tone from the off, with birdies on the first three holes on the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Course.

Sterne, who won this event in 2008 and is chasing a return to the game's elite after a spell out with injury, saw his strongest competition come from American Peter Uihlein, two shots back when he got to the clubhouse.

A cluster of players, both finished and mid-round, were bunched together on five under par, amongst them Jaco van Zyl and Ireland's Damien McGrane, while two-time major winner Charl Schwartzel was just teeing off.

England's Nick Dougherty and Oliver Fisher were still to play the first hole by the time Sterne had finished, although compatriot Robert Rock signed for a par 71.