South Africa's Justin Harding made the most of a ‘jammy’ moment to claim a one-shot lead as home players dominated the opening round of the Tshwane Open.

Harding birdied five of his last eight holes at Pretoria Country Club to record a seven-under-par 63, with compatriots Anthony Michael and Theunis Spangenberg on six and five under respectively.

Ireland’s Kevin Phelan was well in the mix until a disastrous last two holes saw him drop three shots.

He was on level par after one birdie and one bogey on his opening 16 holes, but then he went bogey, double bogey on 17 and 18.

Phelan dropped from just outside the top 20 to a piece of tied 81st and hovering around the cut mark on three over.

A total of ten South African players ended the day inside the top 16, with Jaco van Zyl on four under and defending champion George Coetzee part of an 11-strong group on two under.

The group on minus two included Scottish trio Jamie McLeary, Andrew McArthur and Scott Henry.

World number 509 Harding chipped in on the 18th to complete a back nine of 30, having missed the cut in his last three events.

"I felt like I hit it quite nicely although I was quite jammy on the last - I chipped in from a position that otherwise was not very good. So that was a great way to finish the day," he said"

Harding continued: "I'm super chuffed. I have been struggling the last couple of events so it's a confidence boost.

"It's been a while since I've been up there in one of these events so it's a good feeling. I'm just going to see if I can maybe keep it going.

"I feel as though I'm hitting it nice enough, putting it in the fairway with a driver at least, which is good. I missed a couple of irons off the tee, but that happens."

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, who took advantage of Rory McIlroy's final-round collapse to win at Augusta in 2011, bogeyed two of his last five holes to card a one-over-par 71 in his first appearance since finishing ninth in the Nedbank Golf Challenge on December 6.

South African Open champion Brandon Stone carded a disappointing one over-par 71, but at least took bragging rights in his family after father Kevin was four shots worse off following his opening round.
              
It is not the first time the Stones have gone head-to-head on the European Tour, they also played in the Joburg Open last season.