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Charl Schwartzel

Matt Slocum

Charl Schwartzel and Lee Westwood share the lead after the opening round of the $5-million Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.

Following a double bogey on the ninth hole which left him 1-over at the turn, the Masters champion scorched the back nine of the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City on Thursday with five birdies including four in a five hole stretch for an opening round 68.

"Turning one over, I wasn't happy with myself. I felt like I was playing better than that," said the South African. "And sometimes that's what you need to kick on. I just started firing at the flags.

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"I probably got fearless."

Westwood, the world number three and defending champion, holed a putt from nearly 20 feet on No. 18 for his fourth birdie. The Englishman also had an eagle three on No. 9 and two bogeys to join Schwartzel atop the leaderboard.

"It was nice to hole that one at the last," Westwood said. "I had it in the back of my mind that Charl was on 4 under and I wanted to be in the last group.

"I played lovely. Nice to make one-putt at the last from about 18 feet because I hadn't made any all day. But tee to green was brilliant."

Robert Karlsson was one stroke back after carding a 3-under 69.

World number one Luke Donald missed out on grabbing a three-way share of the lead with a double bogey on the second to last hole to leave him two strokes back, tied with six other golfers including Martin Kaymer and Graeme McDowell.

Playing for the first time since his blistering finish at Disney World to clinch the PGA Tour's money list title, Donald put his tee shot on No. 17 into the water on the left of the fairway and missed a 12-footer for bogey.

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Anders Hansen and Francesco Molinari opened with rounds of even par while British Open champion Darren Clarke brought up the rear in the 12 player field at 2-over after a round of 74.

Files from the Associated Press were used in this report

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