CENTURION, South Africa -- Darren Fichardt of South Africa birdied the longest par-5 in European Tour history Thursday to lead the inaugural Tshwane Open by one stroke after the first round.
Fichardt shot a 7-under-par 65 and was one of three players in the top 24 to need only four shots on the 685-yard fourth hole.
"I hit driver, 3-iron, 7-iron and holed a 12-foot putt," said Fichardt, who lives 10 minutes from the Els Club course at the Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate. "But I mean, at that length, into the wind and with the fairways not running, it's not a fun hole."
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"This golf course is awesome, it's very fair," Fichardt said. "The greens are very soft, so you're able to attack the flags."
Two weeks ago, Fichardt captured a fourth European Tour title in winning the Africa Open at East London. Last week, he was seventh in a Sunshine Tour event.
"I've been playing for eight weeks in a row and I don't even know what's going on," he said. "I'm just going with the flow and hitting one shot at a time, so I'm looking forward to a break after this week."
Akesson joined Fichardt in the lead after birdies at Nos. 13 and 14 and an eagle-3 at the 15th. Akesson, however, bogeyed the 17th to drop into second.