Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Matthew Baldwin and James Morrison one off the lead at Joburg Open

Matthew Baldwin and James Morrison one off the lead at Joburg Open

The last Joburg Open, staged at a different venue in the largest South African city, was cut from four rounds to three because of torrential seasonal rain.

In a major change for the Joburg Open 2018, the Asian Tour has been added as the third sanctioning tour to endorse the Joburg Open along with longstanding PGA's the Sunshine Tour and European Tour.

A field of 240 players is split over the Bushwillows and Firethorn courses for the first two days.

The two-time European Tour victor kept a bogey off his card and made three straight birdies on the front nine before picking up four shots in six holes after the turn to vault into the share of second place.

"I'm obviously very happy", he said. "I just wanted to have fun, so I am very blessed to be playing well". Burmester finished the previous campaign with a top-four finish at the DP World Tour Championship and was T27 in last week's Mauritius Open.

A group of six players were a stroke back, at seven-under-par, including South Africans Jared Harvey, Erik van Rooyen and Ockie Strydom.

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"I was really looking forward to playing this week".

Some of the biggest names from the three tours billed for the tournament include the Sunshine Tour's Louis Oosthuizen‚ former tournament champions Richard Sterne‚ Haydn Porteus and Darren Fichardt.

Title favourite and former British Open victor Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa withdrew after a freak eve-of-tournament accident.

The 35-year-old jammed his fingers in an airport trolley on his way to Johannesburg, and on Wednesday was still unable to grip a golf club with his swollen fingers.

American Cody Martin took his place and returned a 71.

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