Els rolls back the years in Sun City

Ernie Els admiited he surprised even himself as he carded a brilliant bogey free 68 on day one of the Nedbank Golf Challenge hosted by Gary Player.

Ernie Els

The 50-year-old is deep into preparations for captaining the International team at next month's Presidents Cup and he also arrived at the seventh Rolex Series event of the 2019 Race to Dubai with a niggling hip injury.

But the four time Major Champion is a three time winner of this event at Gary Player Country Club and he showed all that class as he rolled back the years.

"Good memories came back to me today," he said. "I had a nice swing thought. I kind of just kept the ball in play, didn't try and overpower it - not like I can overpower anything anymore. I just kind of plotted around the course and actually hit some good iron shots.

"It could have been a little better but I'm pretty happy with 68. 

"I didn't quite expect that. I haven't played too much golf recently. I really came here with a plan to try and get a swing going, which I kind of did. 

"I just went on memory, going around the golf course where I used to hit the ball. Today was a good day."

Els was out in the very first group of the day but despite the early start, there were bumper crowds present to see him off.

"We were first out and there were already some people out there, obviously supporters of mine through thick and thin, and they grew a little bit as I made a couple of birdies. 

"It was really nice of the people to come out. There's the odd funny comment here and there now that I'm 50 but I've had a good long run around this place, so it's nice to see some of the fans come out."

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