Sterne Still Co-Leader at Joburg Open


Richard Sterne stayed atop the leaderboard of the Joburg Open, but the player accompanying him is someone different than Germany's Maximilian Kieffer.

As the 31-year-old Sterne carded a 7-under 65 on the East course at Kensington Golf Club in Johannesburg, Trevor Fisher Jr. posted a 9-under 62 on the West course to take the two South Africans into a share of the lead at 15-under 128 in the European Tour event. Their 36-hole total set a new tournament record.

Fisher, who on Tuesday was honored with the Sunshine Tour's 2012 Player of the Year and Writers' Player of the Year awards, carded an eagle on the par-5 second hole and added two birdies to make the turn in 4-under 32. The 33-year-old added five more birdies on the home half.

"It was a great day out there," Fisher told reporters. "Everything just happened for me and I sank the putts I needed to sink. I was happy and patient with myself - walked slow and did everything slow - and it was just a good day," Fisher told a media room after his round. It's nice to have the record.

"But I'm going to focus on my game and not worry about what everyone else is doing. It's just a number - I've got to go out there and still try to make birdies. If I can make my lead 15 shots I'll try to do it, I'm not going to hold back now. I want to make birdies and I've set myself a number for the week, and if I can get to that I'll be chuffed. If it's good enough for us at the end of the week then it'll be great."

"It's a nice position to be in. It's always nice to play at home and I always enjoy these types of golf courses," said Sterne, who made a good run in last week's Dubai Desert Classic before falling to winner Stephen Gallacher.

"I played well on the front nine. I just made two pars on the par-5s, which doesn't help. But I played well on the par-4s. I was quite conservative today, and on this golf course you have to be fairly conservative at the right time and take it on when you can. I did the right things, but it didn't feel great out there. I putted well and that's what helps with the scoring."

Three more South Africans are next on the leaderboard. George Coetzee (64) is at 131, while tied for fourth at 133 are Charl Schwartzel (65) and Keith Horne (66) along with Chile's Felipe Aguilar (66).

Coezee has had 21 top-10 and seven top-three finishes on the European Tour but is still looking for his first title. "I don't even think about those things," he said about getting his maiden win. "Well, I try not to. Every now and then it will pop up and you have to get back into the zone, into the now. I try not to think about it and I tell myself that I want to finish top-10 instead, and that normally calms me down. I can achieve that in the position I am in at the moment.

"If the win comes I'll be happy, but if it doesn't, as long as I'm playing well, I'll still be happy."

American Peter Uihlein, only two shots back of first-round co-leaders Sterne and Kieffer, shot a 69 to reach 134 with three other players. After opening with a 63, Kieffer shot a 72 to drop into a tie for 11th at 135.

For all the scores, visit http://www.europeantour.com/europeantour/season=2013/tournamentid=2013011/leaderboard/index.html?showLeaderboard=Y.


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