Peterson shines amid Johannesburg downpour

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Paul Peterson surged to the top of the Joburg Open leaderboard with a stunning nine-under-par 62 before heavy rain brought a premature halt to round one on Thursday.

Torrential downpours have played havoc with the course this week and caused the cancellation of Tuesday's pro-am, but the grounds staff at the Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Golf Club ensured that play could begin.

And Peterson - playing on the West Course - was the biggest beneficiary, the American taking full advantage of the early dry conditions to go out in 31 strokes and come home with the same tally, managing not to drop a single shot.

Playing with a new putter, Peterson made a superb start, holing five birdies through the opening nine holes and gaining four more on the way home - including a streak of three between the 14th and 16th - to take a two-shot lead from Englishmen Aaron Rai and Paul Waring, who both played the East Course.

"It was fun out there," Peterson told the European Tour website. "Birdieing half of the holes is never bad and bogey-free to match, so I felt really good out there. 

"I got into a nice rhythm and I put a new putter in play this week. It proved to be a good first round with it so I'm really happy."

Rai's card was also blemish-free as he signed for a 65, while Waring hit nine birdies but was limited by bogeys at the 12th and 14th.

A trio of three players are three strokes off the leader on six under, but the heavens opened and play was halted at 2.35pm local time, with 103 players still on the course.

With no sign of a break in the conditions, a decision was made within an hour to halt proceedings for the day and play will now resume at 6.45am on Friday.

Home favourite George Coetzee and Adilson da Silva were among those stopped in their tracks, the duo were flying at five under having played 13 and 12 holes respectively.