Playing for the first time since ending last season with the FedEx Cup and European money list title, Henrik Stenson was one-under after seven and tied for fifth, with six straight pars after a birdie on No 1.
Boosted by his victory at the Phoenix Open, Donald’s quick start at Sun City came off sweetly struck iron shots into the greens at his opening two holes. He also picked up back-to-back birdies at the end of his opening nine.
“Lovely start,” he said. “It doesn’t get much better than three-three around here. Birdie, eagle and all of a sudden you are three under par through two holes. I played solid for those first 11 holes and hit a couple of very nice shots in that time that I was able to take advantage of.”
Defending champion Martin Kaymer is in the mix at two-under, while Charl Schwartzel led the South African challenge as one of seven players tied at one under par. Sergio Garcia is also part of that group, as is Peter Uihlein of the US.
Ernie Els was three-over after seven in search of his fourth title at Sun City, while US Open champion Justin Rose was four-over after eight. Only Australia’s Peter Senior, with three double bogeys in his first six holes to crash to eight-over through 10, was worse than Rose.
Having initially been kept off the course for nearly three hours through an earlier thunderstorm, the players came off for the second time in the late afternoon and all had to come back at 7:30am yesterday morning to complete their opening rounds.