Merrick Bremner grabbed an early lead at the SA Open Championship as Tommy Fleetwood launched a last-ditch bid to preserve his European Tour status.
South African Bremner began his national championship with five birdies in his first eight holes at Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate.
Just one shot further back were the last two winners of The Challenge Tour, 2011 champion Fleetwood and this year’s leading money earner Espen Kofstad.
While Norwegian Kofstad will be on The European Tour next season, Fleetwood’s future remains uncertain: he began the week 124th on The Race to Dubai with only the top 119 on Sunday exempt for 2013.
Having made seven of his last eight cuts, the 21 year old continued that good form with four birdies in an outward 32.
Playing the back nine first, Kofstad matched that effort with five birdies and a single bogey.
Austrian HP Bacher and South African trio Wallie Coetsee, Darren Fichardt and Trevor Fisher Junior were all tied on three under par, two behind Bremner.