JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Jamie Elson and Damien McGrane each shot 8-under-par 63 Thursday and have the clubhouse lead at the European Tour's Joburg Open in South Africa.
Play was stopped for several hours due to lightning and called for the day with much of the field still on the course. Those players included two-time defending champion Charl Schwartzel, who was even-par after 15 holes when play stopped.
Elson and McGrane are one stroke ahead of Desvonde Botes, Peter Karmis and Reinier Saxton. Another six golfers are at 6-under and 10 more at are 5-under.
Botes and Robert Rock, who has three holes of his first round to complete, are the only players among the top 22 to open play at the par-72 East Course at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club. The rest played the relatively easier par-71 West Course.
McGrane was among the first players on the course Thursday. He was 1-under after four holes and had birdies on six of his next eight holes. He got to 9-under on the day with an eagle at the par-5, 539-yard 15th hole. He finished with a bogey, however.
Elson opened his round with four straight birdies and made the turn at 6-under. Back-to-back bogeys at Nos. 10 and 11 dragged him back but he finished strong with four birdies in his final six holes. It was a birdie at the par-4 18th that earned him the tie with McGrane.