Playing partners Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel both shot opening round eight under par 63s, as did Jbe' Kruger, to share the clubhouse lead on day one of the Joburg Open.
The pair finished level with Kruger and one shot ahead of Scotland’s Alastair Forsyth, with England’s Barry Lane and another Scot, Andrew McArthur, on six under.
Five players, including Englishman John Parry and Denmark’s Søren Hansen, were on five under.
A week after winning the Africa Open and going top of The Race to Dubai, Schwartzel birdied eight of the first 11 holes on the West course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington.
Any thoughts of a 59 went when the South African double bogeyed the 450 yard 12th, but a tee shot to within six feet of the flag on the next helped him get back on track and a tenth birdie of the round followed at the 16th.
Former Ryder Cup star Clarke reached the turn in a five under 31 and then three more birdies followed on the back nine.
The Ulsterman was unable to keep his Ryder Cup run going despite two wins in 2008, but believes he can contend for a place in Colin Montgomerie's side in Wales later this year.
Forsyth matched Clarke's front nine and two birdies in his final three holes completed a fine round. Lane, 49, was tackling the longer East course.
Both lay-outs are used for the opening two rounds before the weekend action all comes on the East. Placing of the ball was being allowed because of heavy recent rain.
Lane, who becomes eligible for the Senior Tour in June, began his 649th European Tour event - he is second to Sam Torrance in the all-time list - with a bogey, but birdied five of the next eight and picked up another shot with a 12 footer at the 13th.
He ended with a birdie at the 18th to sit two shots off the lead in the clubhouse.
A 31 on the back nine helped McArthur, who was hampered by two successive bogeys on the third and fourth, finish on six under.
South African Jbe’ Kruger was six under through 12. Ryder Cup Dane Hansen and Parry joined Alejandro Cañizares of Spain - who also played the East course - France’s Raphaël Jacquelin and Swede Henrik Nystrom on five under.
Among those one further back were Italian Omega Mission Hills World Cup winner Edoardo Molinari, who could only manage a one under 70.
Kruger joined Clarke and Schwartzel in the clubhouse on eight under, with England’s Simon Khan and South African Neil Schietekat were on the same mark with three to play before a lightning storm forced play to be suspended for nearly two hours.