• Aiken leads Saffa way in Sicily

    Thomas Aiken
    Smooth start from Thomas

    Thomas Aiken finished his first round three back of the leaders on a day of mixed fortunes for the South Africans in action at the Rocco Forte Open.

    Rewind to this time last year and it was Zander Lombard who was denied in a playoff by Portugal’s Alviro Quiros. Lombard is back for more this year on the Verdura Golf Course and opened with an even-par 71; his back nine consisted of three bogeys, an eagle and a string of pars.

    Lombard’s 71 was matched by Christiaan Bezuidenhout with Aiken the best Saffa through 18.

    Aiken made the turn +1 after a double at the 17th but bounced back with four birdies on his front nine to lie within three of Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard and Ryan Evans of England.

    Trevor Fisher Jnr is well placed after an opening 69 with Haydn Porteous one back after his efforts on Thursday.

    It wasn’t all good news though for the South Africans with a quartet over par. Jacques Kruyswijk and Jbe Kruger share 54th place after 72s with Justin Walters needing to get a move on Friday after he opened with a 73.

    Anthony Michael is the final South African in the field but is unlikely to be adding any Euros to his name after a 78.

    Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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