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Molinari & Lee Remain on Top in Joburg Open


Italy's Edoardo Molinari shot a 4-under 68 and Scotland's Craig Lee a 67 to stay atop the leaderboard in the Joburg Open. The European Tour event began Thursday at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The two players stand at 11-under 132, a stroke ahead of England's David Horsey (63) and South African George Coetzee (68). Horsey's mark, which included eight birdies, came on the par-71 West Course.

Molinari carded his 68 on the longer, tougher East Course and Lee's came on West. "I'm very happy with pretty much everything. I am very happy with my position and my game right now," Molinari said.

Many of the players, including Horsey, have their eye set on a spot in the 2014 British Open in July. Three players who have not already qualified and who finish in the top 10 in the Joburg Open will secure places in the Open Championship. In the event of a tie, the qualifying place(s) will go to the player with the highest spot in the Official World Golf Ranking at the start of Open week.

Though he's among those interested in securing a spot at Royal Liverpool Horsey, Horsey can't let that get in the way of his focus this week. "It's (the British Open) at the back of my mind at the moment, but it's certainly a bonus to consider near the end of the week," he said.

Tied for fifth at 134 are Jin Jeong, Justin Walters, James Heath, Andrew Georgiou, Alastair Forsyth, Roope Kakko and Danny Willett. Walters and Forsyth shared the 18-hole lead with Molinari and Lee.

The low American is Jason Knutzon, who followed up his opening 67 with a 71.

The cut was set at 4-under 139. South Africa's Charl Schwartzel qualified for the weekend right on the number after posting rounds of 69 and 70. Not so fortunate is his countryman and defending champion Richard Sterne, who carded rounds of 67 and 73 to miss out by a stroke.

For all the scores, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2014/tournamentid=2014009/leaderboard/index.html.