Johannesburg - George Coetzee is one of the lucky few of the 30-man Investec Cup field who has played Millvale Private Retreat at Koster, near Rustenburg, a few times, and he used the lessons he has learned to guide him to an opening round of four-under-par 68.
That was good enough for a share of the lead with 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, with only another two players breaking par. Justin Harding and Shaun Norris shared third place on one-under 71.
"I can think of at least four shots today that my local knowledge helped," said Coetzee
The first two rounds of the tournament will be played at Millvale, with the final two rounds at the Lost City.
The tournament is the climax to the year-long Chase to the Investec Cup, with the top 30 points earners battling it out for the R1-million tournament prize.
Scores after the first round of the final Chase to the Investec Cup tournament played at Millvale Private Retreat on Thursday
68 - Charl Schwartzel (RSA), George Coetzee (RSA)
71 - Justin Harding (RSA), Shaun Norris (RSA)
72 - Keith Horne (RSA), Jean Hugo (RSA), Dean Burmester (RSA), Jaco Ahlers (RSA)
73 - Tjaart van der Walt (RSA), Ulrich van den Berg (RSA), Jaco Van Zyl (RSA), Haydn Porteous (RSA), Chris Swanepoel (RSA)
74 - Morten Orum Madsen (DEN), Darren Fichardt (RSA)
75 - Rhys West (RSA), Wallie Coetsee (RSA), Jbe' Kruger (RSA), Danie van Tonder (RSA), Christiaan Basson (RSA)
76 - Oliver Bekker (RSA)
77 - Titch Moore (RSA), Erik van Rooyen (RSA)
78 - Louis de Jager (RSA), Trevor Fisher Jnr (RSA)