Johannesburg - England's Chris Lloyd returned from a two-month layoff from the game in fine fashion, carding an eight-under 64 to lead the rain-delayed Eye of Africa PGA Championship alongside South African young gun Combrink Smit.
In his first competitive round of golf since November, Lloyd joked about the lack of practice benefitting him coming into the next month of events in South Africa.
"Yeah I'm delighted. I'm not going to lie, I did surprise myself. It's my first tournament of the year and first competitive round since Tour School last November, so yeah I'm very, very happy," explained Lloyd.
"I had a problem with the wrist last year so I gave that a bit of a rest," said Lloyd. "I didn't start hitting balls since about the middle of January, got about a week into practice and then fell ill, so I didn't do much for 10 days and then flew here. So, I guess, practice is overrated."
Smit surged up the leaderboard late on the first day, coming home with five birdies and one eagle to set the low front nine (his back nine) of the day.
"I can't really say much about my round. Everything just went my way. I boxed a few long ones, I boxed a few turning ones, chipped one in for eagle there on the eighth and then putted another one in on the ninth from off the green," Smit said after his round.
Rookie Martin Rohwer finished with four birdies in five holes to sit just two back of the leaders on six-under-par alongside Louis de Jager, while Tjaart van der Walt and Jaco Ahlers carded rounds of 5-under 67.
Keenan Davidse, Toby Tree and Lindani Ndwande were left out on course on four-under when the siren sounded for bad light at 18:47 and will return early on Friday morning to complete their rounds.