Mad dash pays off for Eccles

Ben Eccles

Ben Eccles was sitting at home last weekend without an immediate mission.

He will wake up today in Pretoria, South Africa, just one stroke from the lead in the European Tour’s Tshwane Open.

The Golf Australia rookie squad member took full toll of his last-minute invitation to compete on the co-sanctioned Sunshine Tour event, firing an opening five-under-par round to sit just one from the lead.

The Geelong ace, 22, only learnt of his inclusion in the event on Monday afternoon, and hurriedly flew across the Indian Ocean to take his place in the field.

But now, the 2015 New South Wales Open champion has the opportunity to change the direction of his season with a good result.

Eccles took a while to warm to the task, but stormed home with an inward 32 including four birdies in his final five holes.

His blemish-free 66 left him in a group of five players one shot adrift of leading trio Gregory Havret, Haydn Porteous and impressive Swede Alexander Bjork.

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