Former Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel made an impressive start on the opening day of the SA Open Championship, but it was fellow countryman Merrick Bremner who led the way.
Starting on the back nine first, Schwartzel, who triumphed at Augusta in 2011, recovered from a double-bogey on the 12th to reach the turn two under par. The 28 year old then delivered a sumptuous chip out of the rough on the second to leave him with a routine putt for another birdie, while he also picked up a shot on the par five eighth to finish with 68.
However, it was Bremner who was leading the way in his national championship at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate as he shot an eight under par 64.
Bremner, who had two top-three finishes on the Sunshine Tour last month, picked up three shots on the opening four holes before recording three successive birdies to end the front nine leading the pack.
The South African then birdied both of the back nine’s par fives to leave him in great shape in the clubhouse.
Among the host of players four shots behind Bremner was Oscar Floren.
The Swede, hoping for a good outing to ensure his European Tour status for next season, birdied the tenth, 17th and second before landing his approach on the eighth to within a few feet to pick up another shot.