Zimbali - George Coetzee and Mark James managed the blustery conditions to combine for a betterball eight under par 64 at the Zimbali Country Club in the first round of the Gary Player invitational on Saturday.
The event features a professional betterball medal competition while the amateurs combine with the pros for a four ball alliance, both over 36 holes.
They are tied with Ian Woosnam and Jaco van Zyl on the same score, well ahead of Peter Hanson and Sally little on 67.
Coetzee said the key for scoring in the betterball competition was timing when they had they scored well. "I think the fact that we only played a couple holes each," said Coetzee.
"If I was in the bushes, he [James] was on the fairway, and if I was in the fairway he was in the bushes.
"The most important thing about betterball is doing your bit when it's your turn."
Both the professionals paid tribute to the local knowledge of the course of former Proteas captain Shaun Pollock, who also plays off a scratch (0) handicap. "I suppose I do know lines on greens a bit better, and also if you want to go 'Tiger line' on certain holes. I mean I've tried them all before, not very successfully but I have tried them," said Pollock.
"It was a huge help to all of us, especially George and I who I don't know the course that well," said James.
"On this course, with the wind, (he knows) where to cut across corners and he told us what the ball is going to do on the greens quite a lot. He was a big help."
In the team four ball alliance two scores to count, Coetzee, Pollock, James and business executive Wessel Witthuhn lead the competition on a total of 15 under par. They are well clear of the chasing pack with two other teams tied on 11 under par.
Scores from the first round of the Gary Player Invitational at the Country Club on Saturday:
Betterball professional competition: (Par 72)
64 Mark James (ENG) & George Coetzee (RSA), Ian Woosnam (WAL) & Jaco van Zyl (RSA)
67 Sally Little (RSA) & Peter Hanson (SWE)
68 Carly Booth (SCO) & David Russel (ENG)
69 - Lee-Anne Pace (RSA) & Vincent Tshabalala (RSA), Jesper Parnevik (SWE) & Roger Wessels (RSA), Gary Player (RSA) & James Kamte (RSA)
70 Tony Johnstone (ZIM) & Diana Luna (ITA)
Fourball alliance two scores to count:(Brackets to separate teams)
-15: Wessel Witthuhn, Shaun Pollock, George Coetzee, Mark James
-11: (Dieter Schonfeld, Lucas Radebe, Jaco van Zyl, Ian Woosnam), (Ron Boon, Breyton Paulse, Jesper Parnevik, Roger Wessels)
-9: Claudia Schonfeld, Paul Collingwood, James Kamte, Gary Player
-8: (Greg Whittaker, Kapil Dev, Carly Booth, David Russell), (Kevin McNally, Pierre Spies, Lee-Anne Pace, Vincent Tshabalala)
-7: Alan Pearson, Thomas Msengana, Diana Luna, Tony Johnstone
-6: Alex Maditsi, Craig Joubert, Peter Hanson, Sally Little