JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A late charge gave England's Matthew Nixon an 8-under 64 and a one-shot lead after the first round of the South African Open, the start of the 2014 European Tour season.
Two-time U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen and former Masters winner Charl Schwartzel also were in early contention at their home tournament.
Nixon was one of the last players to finish Thursday, but ended with birdie, eagle, par to knock Italy's Marco Crespi and South Africa's Jbe Kruger off the top of the leaderboard at Glendower Golf Club.
Goosen began with a 66 to tie for third, while Schwartzel shot 67. Schwartzel's younger brother, Attie, a pro on South Africa's Sunshine Tour, matched his more famous sibling to share sixth place at 5 under.
Goosen is still recovering from back surgery in 2012 that wiped out most of his last two seasons and made steady progress on Thursday with seven birdies and just one dropped shot at the par-3 No. 6.
"Six under any day is pretty good," the 2001 and 2004 U.S. Open champion said. "It was nice to finish off good, too. I'm feeling good. I'm going after the ball a little bit now, so getting some consistency going."