Hennie du Plessis was the leading South African after the first round on Thursday of the DP World Tour’s Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club in Sun City.
As the lead was shared between Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark, Vincent Norrman of Sweden, England’s Dan Bradbury and Max Homa of the United States at six-under-par, Du Plessis carded a two-under-par 70 with six birdies and four bogeys to be in a share of 20th.
The leading quartet had a one-stroke lead over three players at five-under-par, with six on four-under and six on three-under.
Defending champion Tommy Fleetwood of England opened with a one-under-par as he goes in search for a third title in the tournament. In a share of 31st with Fleetwood and others was South African Open champion Thriston Lawrence.
Branden Grace, the winner in the tournament in 2017, was on level-par together with double major champion Justin Thomas of the United States.
Ockie Strydon was on three-over, and Zander Lombard and Louis de Jager battled their ay to four-over-par 76.
Bradbury claimed an impressive wire-to-wire victory at the Joburg Open last year, in what was only his third start as a professional, and has continued that form throughout the season to sit in 48th place in the Race to Dubai rankings.
Bradbury clearly feels at home in South Africa and he holed a monster 75-foot putt at the ninth – his last – for an eagle three to be joint first-round leader.
“I don’t really know, I think it’s the steaks every night to be honest, that’s my diet out here, but it’s a lovely place, lovely weather and lovely people so I enjoy it,” Bradbury said.
“Just a very solid day. Got off to a good start, a few birdies early on and dropped one, which kind of annoyed me, so I had a bit of a point to prove after that, and obviously that finish was quite nice.
“Everybody talks about the wind, and we noticed that a few times today, it was swirling. It completely changes in the space of two minutes, but luckily today there was not much of it so we got away with that.
“If you just hit fairways, because of the altitude it doesn’t play that long, so you give yourself a lot of chances.”