Brandon Stone produced a steady opening round of two-under-par 69 on Thursday morning at the 100th Open de France. The early clubhouse leader was Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard who fired a five-under-par 66 to lead by one over Belgium’s Thomas Pieters.
Stone, the 2016 SA Open Champion, had to contend with tough early conditions but picked up his first birdie at the par-five third. An unfortunate bogey at the eighth meant the 23-year-old made the turn at even-par.
A decent back nine saw the Rustenburg-born golfer avoid dropped shots. His consistent play was rewarded with birdies at the 10th and 14th before finishing with a par at the 18th to share eighth place.
Bjerregaard had a whirlwind round that started with a hole-in-one at the second. He pencilled in five birdies and two bogeys to compile his round of 66. Headline act Rory McIlroy struggled to an even-par 71 that included three dropped shots and was in a tie for 29th.
Other South Africans who have completed their first rounds were Trevor Fisher Jnr (71), Darren Fichardt (74), and Haydn Porteous (78).