Henrik Stenson (Getty Images)
Henrik Stenson put himself in prime position for a sprint finish at the SA Open Championship as The Race to Dubai enters the final stretch.
The Swede began the tournament ranked 59th with the top 60 players heading to Dubai for The DP World Tour Championship next week.
Knowing that he therefore needs a strong showing at the Serengeti Golf & Wildlife Estate, Stenson made a impressive start with consecutive threes at the par four first and second.
He also picked up shots at the sixth and eighth to turn on a four under 32.
South African Merrick Bremner currently leads his national competition after finishing his first round eight under par.
Bremner came into this event on the back of two top-three finishes on the Sunshine Tour last month, and he continued his purple patch by picking up three shots on the opening four holes before a string of birdies on seven, eight and nine put him in a dominant position.
Fellow countryman Matthew Carvell is two strokes back while 2011 Masters Tournament champion Charl Schwartzel is with Stenson on four under par.
Craig Lee endured an up and down day in his quest to hang on to his European Tour card for next year, but managed to finish the afternoon just three shots off early pacesetter Bremner.
Bogies on six, ten and 15 threatened to derail the Scot's opening round, yet six birdies and an eagle at the 382-yard par four second ensured Lee remains in contention.