South African Branden Grace blitzed the Leopard Creek Country Club course to card a 10-under-par 62 in the first round of the European Tour’s Alfred Dunhill Championship in Malelane, Mpumalanga, on Thursday.
Grace finished three shots ahead of rookie Jake Roos, with another debutant Matt Ford and last week’s Nedbank Challenge winner Danny Willett a shot further back.
Grace birdied the first and never looked back, going out in 31 and claiming another six birdies on the back nine as he made light of a course where precision off the tee is crucial.
Roos, playing his first European Tour event as a full member, eagled his first hole at the par four 10th and added four birdies on the front nine in a seven-under-par 65.
“I felt comfortable and swung quite nicely,” Roos told reporters.
“When I holed that shot on my first hole it was an ice-breaker for me. It got me laughing and relaxed me, so it was a perfect start. It came out right on target and pitched a little short and went in.”
Willett continued the fine form that earned him $1.25 million at Sun City last weekend, also carding a bogey-free round of 66.
South African Charl Schwartzel, who has won the tournament for the last two years, made seven birdies and dropped four shots in an erratic round of 69.