Edoardo Molinari was part of a four-way tie for the first-round lead at the European Tour's Joburg Open with his 7-under 64 on Thursday.

The Italian was joined by Scottish pair Alastair Forsyth and Craig Lee and South African Justin Walters.

Molinari, a 2010 Ryder Cup player, opened with three straight birdies at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington and collected eight in all on the par-71 West Course. Lee had the most impressive round with his 7-under 65 on the tougher par-72 East Course.

Players play one round on each of the East and West courses on Thursday and Friday before finishing on the East over the weekend.

The tournament is also a qualifying event for the British Open and offers three places at July's championship at Royal Liverpool.