Date: January 10, 2014
Author: Alex Fisher, Omnisport

Faultless Jacquelin takes Volvo Golf Champions lead

Raphael Jacquelin produced a faultless round of 67 to open up a one-shot lead at the top of the Volvo Golf Champions leaderboard.

The Frenchman coped well with blustery conditions in Durban to end the opening round with a slender advantage over defending champion Louis Oosthuizen. 

Brett Rumford, the lone Australian in the field, carded a 73 to be six shots off the lead.

Jacquelin started his round with five consecutive pars before picking up two shots prior to the turn.

A further three birdies followed in the final five holes and left the 39-year-old, who was the only player to avoid a bogey on Thursday, pleased with his performance.

"On a course like this, and in the wind, you have to be patient and things just worked out," said Jacquelin. "I managed to get everything right.

"A bogey-free round; that's the key, to go bogey-free every round on this course. It's a new year and pretty good way for me to start, so that's great."

Oosthuizen, the world number 34, started the day badly with a dropped shot at the first but picked up five birdies thereafter en route to a 68.

Darren Clarke, who has not finished in the top 10 at a European Tour event for two years, also started strongly, carding a 69 to share third with Frenchman Victor Dubuisson.

Veteran Scot Colin Montgomerie is one of seven players a further shot back, having picked up six birdies and almost registered a hole-in-one at the par-three 15th.

Among those alongside Montgomerie is Peter Uihlein, whose eventful round started with a triple bogey.

However, it was a day to forget for local favourite Charl Schwartzel, back in a tie for 28th on two over, and Thomas Bjorn, who slipped to the foot of the leaderboard courtesy of a 79.