Paul Dunne managed 15 holes to lie on two under before bad weather forced play to be suspended in the first round of the Joburg Open.

The Wicklow man will have his work cut out this weekend though as he trails the clubhouse leader, Paul Peterson, by seven strokes.

Peterson, a left-handed American, completed a brilliant 62 before heavy rain, on an already-saturated course, forced play to be abandoned for the day.

Dunne managed birdies at five and six and is best of the Irish tied for 46th.

Jeff Hopkins, the Royal Dublin golfer, managed six holes and lies on one under after a birdie on the first, while Darren Clarke is two over after 14 holes. The Ulster man hit two birdies and two bogeys, before a double bogey at the 11th set him back.

English duo Aaron Rai and Paul Waring are Peterson’s closet challengers after carding matching rounds of 65.

Playing just the third European Tour event of his career, Rai fired seven birdies in a flawless round, with Waring recording nine birdies and two bogeys. That left the pair two shots behind Peterson.

South African players have won seven of the 10 editions of the Joburg Open, with Jbe Kruger the best-placed home player after a six-under 65.

Pre-tournament favourite and 2014 champion George Coetzee was five under par after 13 holes of his round.

Peterson, who won the Czech Masters last season, said: "It was fun out there today. Making birdie on half the holes is never bad and bogey free to match. I put a new putter in play this week and it proved to be a good first round with it.

"I've been putting a lot of really good work in with my coaches and the consistency is getting better.

"I've always been someone who putted pretty well and hit good drives, but my iron play is improving, my wedge game is improving and when I'm missing greens I feel really really confident with what I'm doing around the greens."