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Erlandsson leads South African Open

Paarl, South Africa (Sports Network) - Sweden's Martin Erlandsson fired an eight-under 64 to take the first-round lead Thursday at the South African Open.

Erlandsson posted an eagle and six birdies in a flawless round on the Pearl Valley course, taking a one-shot lead over Spain's Pablo Martin and South Africa's Dawie Van der Walt.

Denmark's Anders Hansen had a 66 and was in third place, while Scotland's Richie Ramsay started with a 67.

Erlandsson began his round on the 10th hole and played in the second group of the morning. He posted just two birdies on the back nine to make the turn in 34 shots. 

  Getty Image

But he caught fire on the front side of the course and went six-under par during a six-hole stretch between No. 2 and No. 7, taking the early clubhouse lead.

That run included a spectacular three-wood into the green at the par-five fifth. Erlandsson landed his second shot within three feet, setting up his eagle.

"Wow, what happened?" was Erlandsson's surprised reaction to the shot.

Erlandsson, 35, has never won on the European Tour. He missed the cut in last week's the Alfred Dunhill Championship after shooting an 82 in the first round.

That event marked the start of the 2010 season on the European Tour.

Martin won last week's event in South Africa to become the first player in tour history to capture a victory as an amateur and a professional.

Like Erlandsson, the 23-year-old Spaniard also produced a key eagle during Thursday's first round, picking up two strokes at the par-five 18th. Martin gave it his all from more than 260 yards at the long finishing hole.

"It was a very well-played hole," said Martin, who won the 2007 Estoril Open de Portugal as an amateur.

Van der Walt led the home charge Thursday with a round that included two eagles. He holed out at the 10th for one of them.

"I think I only missed two fairways and one of the fairways I missed, I holed my second shot," said the 26-year-old.

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