Retief Goosen got his bid for a third SA Open Championship title off to a great start at Serengeti Golf Club as he raced into an early share of the first round lead with Scotland’s Steven O’Hara.
Goosen, a runner-up to compatriot Ernie Els after a thrilling final round battle in this event last December, had five birdies in an outward 32, before chipping in for an eagle at the par four second.
That put the two-time US Open Championship winner six under after 11 holes, where he was joined by O’Hara - who at 134th on The Race to Dubai is scrapping for his European Tour future.
The 31 year old is still to win after eight years on The European Tour, and with only the top 118 players after next week’s UBS Hong Kong Open retaining playing privileges for 2012, O’Hara’s advance to six under after 13 holes was a welcome boost.
He birdied two of the first three holes, and after dropping a shot at the fourth responded with three further birdies and an eagle at the par five eighth.
South African pair Jbe Kruger and Darryn Lloyd were tied for third on five under, with Alvaro Velasco, Søren Hansen, Mark Brown and Jean Hugo one further back.