(Reuters) – Wil Besseling carded a seven-under 65 to take a one-shot first- round lead at the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Thursday as the new European Tour season opened with special dispensation for players to wear shorts at a blazing hot Leopard Creek Country Club.
The 33-year-old Dutchman, who usually competes on the Challenger Tour, set the pace as players battled with temperatures as high as 40 degrees at the course on the border of the Kruger Park in the east of South Africa.
Besseling leads South African Keith Horne, Pablo Larrazabal of Spain and England’s Garrick Porteous, who qualified for the Tour last week. They all carded 66, with another Spaniard Alejandro Canizares a stroke back on 67.
Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel returned after a lengthy layoff with wrist problems to card a 70 in his first competitive round in seven months.
Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ed Osmond