Johannesburg - Christiaan Bezuidenhout led the South African challenge with a five-under 65 in the first round of the Sony Open, in Hawaii, on Thursday.
The top-ranked SA player in the field held a share of 16th position in a good day for scoring, with American Kevin Na leading the way with a flawless nine-under 61.
Bezuidenhout, the SA number two at 48th in the world rankings, carded six birdies and a bogey on his way to a solid opening round for the 27-year-old.
Bezuidenhout’s compatriot, Erik van Rooyen was not far behind with a round of four-under 66 in a tie for 24th.
In contrast to the steady round of Bezuidenhout, Van Rooyen began his day with two bogeys in a row.
The 31-year-old Van Rooyen then rallied with a birdie on the par four fifth to steady the ship, before an impressive eagle three at the ninth to make the turn in one-under.
Another birdie came at the par four 10th, before his final drop shot of the day with a bogey five on 13. Van Rooyen, though, would reel off three birdies over his final four holes to vault his name up the leaderboard.
Branden Grace and Dawie van der Walt both shot rounds of level par 70 to end in a tie for 100th, and the pair will have their work cut out if they are to make the cut. Van der Walt had a real rollercoaster of a round with five bogeys and five birdies, as he settled on even par for his day’s work.