Callum Mowat began with two birdies and just continued on that high as he shot a 67 to lead the SunBet Challenge after the first round at Sun City on Wednesday.
Mowat’s five-under-par score included just one bogey on the testing Gary Player Country Club layout and he came home in three under 33. That gave him a one-stroke lead over Rourke van der Spuy on four under, while MJ Viljoen and Harry Konig were tied for third after shooting 69s.
“I’ve been inside a deep hole and I needed to figure out how I felt about myself,” Mowat said. “It was nice to feel I belong out here and I am competitive, it was good to feel good about myself and where my game is trending. It made me feel good about me.
“I just tried to be aggressive, just let fly and stop trying to steer the ball around, let it run! The demanding thing about Gary Player Country Club is off the tee, but I was more aggressive than usual.”
“That meant I could hit a lot more greens with shorter irons. My gameplan was to just get as far as possible off the tee, it worked well and then I just stuck to the plan,” the 30-year-old Mowat added.
The Glendower golfer had not broken 70 yet in four rounds this season at the FBC Zimbabwe Open and the Sishen Classic.
The 27-year-old Viljoen looked like catching Mowat as he raced to four under through 14 holes, but in a weak finish he dropped a shot at the par-four 18th to finish two back on three under.
Van der Spuy started his round with eight pars, but he caught fire around the turn with birdies on the 9th and 10th holes, and he picked up further shots on the 13th and 17th holes in a bogey-free round.
Konig, hailing from Devon in England, is in his first season on the Sunshine Tour and he also dropped just one shot, making a four on the par-three 16th, in his 69.