Golf

Bremner's 64 equals course record

Image: Merrick Bremner (© Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Merrick Bremner birdied six of his first nine holes Thursday at the South African Open.
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JOHANNESBURG (AP)

Merrick Bremner of South Africa birdied six of his first nine holes, shooting an 8-under-par 64 Thursday to tie the course record in the opening round of the South African Open.

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He's two shots ahead of Sweden's Henrik Stenson and South Africa's Matthew Carvell at Serengeti Golf and Wildlife Estate on the outskirts of Johannesburg.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel recovered from a double-bogey 5 on his third hole at the 12th for a 68. Martin Kaymer shot 70, while Branden Grace was even par.

The 26-year-old Bremner consolidated his outstanding 30 with two more birdies on the back nine. His bogey-free round raised hopes of a first European Tour title at his home event.

''I played fantastically on the first nine,'' he said. ''I didn't miss a green and there was only one chance that I missed that was makeable, and that was on 15. But in theory, I could have shot 28 on the first nine.''

Craig Lee and Alex Haindl each shot a 67 to trail by three strokes.

After his struggles on No. 12, Schwartzel returned to the form that landed him the 2011 title at Augusta National. He had a chip on No. 2 to set up one of his six birdies and didn't drop any more shots.

Kaymer double-bogeyed his first hole on his South African Open debut, calling it a ''bit of a shocker," but picked himself up with four birdies.

Grace, enjoying a breakthrough season since winning back his tour card for 2012, could only manage three birdies, plus a bogey and double on his back nine. Defending champion Hennie Otto shot 71 and amateur Terence Boardman made a hole-in-one on the par-3 12th and finished with a 74.

Tagged: Merrick Bremner, Charl Schwartzel

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