Andrew Georgiou on course to qualify for his second Open Championship
Last Updated: March 6, 2013 4:55pm
Andrew Georgiou recovered from a shaky start to put himself in prime position to qualify for the Open Championship.
The South African carded a seven-under 65 in the opening round of the 36-hole International Final Qualifier Africa in Johannesburg to earn a one-stroke advantage.
The 26-year-old dropped a shot at the fourth and remained one over until igniting a charge up the leaderboard with an eagle at the eighth.
Georgiou birdied the next three and added another at 14, and two closing birdies left him one clear of compatriots Justin Harding, Jake Roos and Darryn Lloyd, who eagled two of the first six holes.
"It helps having done it once before," said Geogiou, who made his Open debut at Royal Lytham last year. "There are a lot of great memories from last year and knowing what's in store if you qualify really motivates you to get back there.
"I made an eagle on the eighth hole after I hit a three-wood to three foot and all of a sudden the momentum changed. Eventually it clicked - it was just a matter of staying patient and taking the opportunities when they came."
Desvonde Botes, who shot 64 in the final round of the Tshwane Open on Sunday, is a further stroke adrift in the race for the three places on offer at Muirfield in July.
England's Ross McGowan is also in contention after he birdied the last two holes to salvage a three-under 69.