Dean Burmester's bid for a third straight victory on the European tour has got off to a decent start after the South African golfer shot a three-under 69 in the first round of his home Alfred Dunhill Championship.
It left him four strokes off first-round leader Robin Williams on Thursday, after the Anglo-South African pacesetter, ranked 924th in the world, fired a seven-under-par 65 for a one-shot lead at the Leopard Creek Country Club on the border of the Kruger Park.
The 22-year-old Williams, born in South Africa and now playing under the country's flag despite growing up in Britain and playing amateur golf for England, made four birdies in his opening seven holes and then another four on the back nine for an early clubhouse lead.
Williams, who has the middle name 'Tiger' after Tiger Woods which was given to him by his sports-loving dad, is one shot ahead of Jayden Schaper, another 22-year-old local who was tied fifth in last week's South African Open, and Manuel Elvira of Spain.
A further six players sit on five-under-par, including Scott Jamieson from Scotland and New Zealander Samuel Jones.
Burmester, who has won back-to-back events on the DP World Tour over the last fortnight and more than 400,000 euros ($A656,000) in prize money, sat among the top 30 in a solid start to his hat-trick bid.
Burmester, fresh from winning the Joburg Open and South African Open, is seeking to emulate the late, great Seve Ballesteros, the last player to win three consecutive events on the European tour in 1986 (Irish Open, Monte Carlo Open and French Open).
In 2014, Rory McIlroy also won on three consecutive appearances -- a run that included back-to-back majors, at the British Open and the PGA Championship -- over a month-long period.
Seven of the last eight winners of the Alfred Dunhill Championship have been South African players, including defending champion Ockie Strydom. He started his title defence with a round of 71 after dropping three shots in his final three holes.
There is another tournament in Africa -- the Mauritius Open next week -- before the tour takes a break until mid-January ahead of events in the Middle East.
Australian Associated Press