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Erik van Rooyen rides front-nine 29 to lead at Mexico Open

Erik van Rooyen rides front-nine 29 to lead at Mexico Open
epa10599092 South African golfer Erik Van Rooyen in action during the third round of the Mexico Open at Vidanta, at the Greg Norman golf course in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco state, Mexico, 29 April 2023. EPA-EFE/Francisco Guasco

Erik van Rooyen shot an 8-under-par 63 to take the first-round lead at the Mexico Open at Vidanta on Thursday in Vallarta, Mexico.

Scorching the front nine with an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole and birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 7 and 9, van Rooyen went out in 29. The South African mixed in an eagle, a birdie and a bogey with his six pars on the back nine.

Finland’s Sami Valimaki, who started on the back nine, drove the green on the par-4 seventh hole and converted an eagle to help secure second place by himself with a 7-under 64.

American David Lipsky joined three others in a tie for third with a round of 6-under 65. Also at 65 were Sweden’s Henrik Norlander, Chile’s Cristobal Del Solar and South Africa’s MJ Daffue.

Defending champion and pre-tournament favorite Tony Finau was tied for 29th after a 2-under 69.

Among eight players three shots back in a tie for seventh at 66 were Andrew Novak and Cameron Champ.

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