Swedish golfer Martin Erlandsson went from the ridiculous to the sublime when the South African Open Championship began at Pearl Valley Golf Estates.
The 35 year old from Malmo started the new European Tour season last week by playing his first nine holes of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in 46 shots.
But seven days on Erlandsson produced a blistering eight under par 64 that gave him an early four stroke lead in the final event of 2009.
Only two under with eight to play, the man who came second in the Johnnie Walker Championship after a closing 62 in August birdied the next three holes and then eagled the 530 yard fifth.
Another birdie came two holes later and by finishing with two pars Erlandsson came home in a six under 30.
Playing partner Richard Finch, the former Irish Open champion from Hull, was himself round in 68 and shared second place with South Africans Jacques Blaauw and Thomas Aiken, and Erlandsson's countryman Michael Jonzon, who saved his European Tour career in spectacular fashion in October by winning the CASTELLÓ MASTERS Costa Azahar.
They were then joined by Italian Omega Mission Hills World Cup winner Edoardo Molinari, who needs a top eight finish to move into the world's top 50 just in time to qualify for April's Masters Tournament along with his brother Francesco.
England's Ross McGowan, who has to come first or second to have a chance of making Augusta, came quickly off the blocks with three birdies in his first six holes to set the early pace.
But then it all went horribly wrong for the Dubai World Championship presented by: DP World runner-up. He had triple bogey sevens on both the 461 yard 16th and 426 yard second and after a double bogey at the sixth was five over.
Spaniard Pablo Martin and South African Charl Schwartzel, first and second at Leopard Creek last Sunday, were among the later starters.
Erlandsson remained four clear until South African Dawie Van der Walt turned in 32 and then holed his second shot to the 386 yard tenth for his second eagle of the day.
He was second on his own, while Dane Anders Hansen - third last week and leader of the Sunshine Tour money list - hit back from an opening bogey and four birdies and an eagle in the next six holes to stand five under.
Martin went birdie-eagle-birdie from the fourth, but bogeyed the next and was three under.
|T4||ANDERSSON HED, Fredrik||SWE||18||-11|
|T6||MARTIN BENAVIDES, Pablo||ESP||18||-10|