Cape Town - Titch Moore played himself into a three-way share of the lead with bogey-free six-under-par 64 opening round at the Sibaya Challenge on The Woods at Mount Edgecombe on Wednesday.
Moore is in search of a first win since his 2016 victory in eSwatini. He teed off in the afternoon in Durban and got straight to work, birdieing the opening hole. Two pars later, he made further gains, and one hole later, that was followed by two more one after the other as he turned in 31.
"We got it quite nice, the draw, it wasn't too breezy out there," said Moore, "but, the last couple of holes got a bit tough and the wind switched a bit. But, a bogey-free 64 is a good score any day."
The wind he mentioned really picked up in the afternoon but Moore navigated through all that expertly on his back nine. Pars from the 10th to the 12th preceded back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th and thereafter, Moore was satisfied with making pars and not dropping a single shot on the day.
"I've never been the greatest putter out there," said Moore, "but if I can to about 30 putts per round, I'm happy. The last couple of weeks have been testing but you've got to stay patient out there."
Tying the lead with Moore are Anthony Michael and Malcolm Mitchell. Michael's 64 consisted of five birdies, a bogey and an eagle, and despite returning from a back injury a few weeks ago, he looked sharp when hitting the ball.
"I'm extremely pleased with my work this morning," he said. "From where I've been in the last few months; obviously, I had problems with my back and last week was my first week out, testing the waters. I've been practicing and so, it's good to see it come out in a tournament."
Mitchell - who is in the field by way of an invite and who has the experienced Greg Hearmon on the bag - had an eventful round which was characterised by six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle of his own, credited his veteran caddie for his solid round on The Woods.
"Just as an example, where I made that eagle, we stood there and discussed quite a lot," said Mitchell. "Most caddies would go with a particular club because that's what the player wants but Greg really gets involved to make sure that you are happy with your club selection. He is a very calming influence and if he's happy, you're going to be very happy."
Tying fourth after round one at four-under-par were Alex Haindl, Nigeria's Andrew Odoh, Karl Ochse and member of the Gary Player Class, Dylan Naidoo who is in his rookie season.
64 - Malcolm Mitchell, Anthony Michael, Titch Moore
66 - Alex Haindl, Andrew Odoh, Karl Ochse, Dylan Naidoo
67 - Anton Haig, Ruan Conradie, Andrew van der Knaap, Oliver Bekker, Jonathan Agren, Martin Rohwer
68 - Andre Nel, Toto Thimba, Wynand Dingle, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jake Redman, Madalitso Muthiya, Ryan O'Neill, Bennie van der Merwe, Altaaf Bux, Cameron Moralee, Andrew Curlewis, Paul Boshoff, Neil Schietekat, Ruan de Smidt, Steve Surry, CJ du Plessis, Daniel van Tonder, Andre De Decker, Chris Cannon, James Hart du Preez, Luke Mayo
69 - Keelan van Wyk, Breyten Meyer, Roberto Lupini, Estiaan Conradie, Christiaan Basson, Jean Hugo, Chris Swanepoel, Jacques P de Villiers, Hennie Otto, MJ Viljoen, Colin Nel, Divan van den Heever, CJ Levey, Jean-Paul Strydom, JC Ritchie, Lyle Rowe, Allister de Kock, Teboho Sefatsa, Clinton Grobler
70 - Wayne Stroebel, Arno Pretorius, Dylan Mostert, Juran Dreyer, Herman Loubser, Adilson Da Silva, Ockie Strydom, Mark Williams, JJ Senekal, Wallie Coetsee, Kyle McClatchie, DK Kim, Callum Mowat, Fredrik From, Musiwalo Nethunzwi, Keith Horne, Philip Eriksson, Daniel Greene, Pieter Moolman, Hennie du Plessis, Jake Roos, Jared Harvey, Lindani Ndwandwe
71 - Sean Bradley, Matt Bright, Combrinck Smit, Thriston Lawrence, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Doug McGuigan, Ryan Cairns, Luke Jerling, Stephen Ferreira, Jacques Blaauw, Kyle Barker, Peetie van der Merwe, Tristen Strydom, Makhetha Mazibuko, Franklin Manchest, Hendrikus Stoop, Heinrich Bruiners, Dylan Kok
72 - Ryan Tipping, Scott Campbell, Deon Germishuys, Adriel Poonan, Thanda Mavundla, Duane Keun, Jade Buitendag, Theunis Bezuidenhout, Dayne Moore, Greg Snow, Michael Palmer, Garth Mulroy, Jonathan Waschefort, Ruan Korb
73 - Louis Albertse, Merrick Bremner, Jaco Prinsloo, Matthew Rushton, Luke Brown, James Pennington, Caylum Boon, Erhard Lambrechts, Philip Geerts, Darin de Smidt, Rhys West, Keenan Davidse, Christopher Van der Merwe
74 - Ruan Huysamen, Lwazi Gqira, Derick Petersen
75 - Aubrey Beckley, Yubin Jung, David McIntyre, Hayden Griffiths, Teaghan Gauche, Rourke van der Spuy
76 - Benjamin Follett-Smith
77 - Jacquin Hess
79 - Siyanda Mwandla
80 - Matthew Carvell
82 - Sipho Bujela
- Sunshine Tour