Gregory Bourdy of France shot a 6-under 66 for a one-stroke lead after the opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Thursday, with a revived Charl Schwartzel one of six players behind him.
Bourdy had six birdies at Leopard Creek Country Club at the second event on the European Tour schedule in the 2013 Race to Dubai.
Schwartzel, who won in Thailand last weekend for his first title since the 2011 Masters, had five birdies in his 67.
The South African was joined by countrymen Louis de Jager, Oliver Bekker and Darren Fichardt and English pair Steve Webster and Richard Bland.
Branden Grace shot a 68, while former British Open champion and No. 5-ranked Louis Oosthuizen struggled to a 73, thanks in part to a quadruple-bogey 8 on the third hole — his 12th.
Bourdy has won on South Africa's Sunshine Tour before and has three European Tour titles. He had three birdies on either side of the turn in a smooth start. Behind him, Schwartzel was beginning to find his 2011 form after struggling for much of this year with a chest injury.
Schwartzel, coming off an 11-shot win in Bangkok on Sunday, is in contention for back-to-back wins to start the season.
"It's a nice start," Schwartzel said. "Whenever you can start off with a 5 under, it's good. Like I always say, you can't win on the first day, but you can sure lose it."
Webster, who lost in a playoff in the opening tournament of the European Tour last weekend, also went bogey-free in his 67.