Justin Harding ended the first round of the Tshwane Open with a one-shot lead after a superb 63 on the opening day at Pretoria Country Club.
Harding, who has missed his first three cuts of the European Tour season, carded eight birdies to finish seven-under par on Thursday.
He was one of just 22 players to shoot under par on day one and is hopeful the performance represents a return to form.
"I have been struggling the last couple of events so it's a confidence boost, absolutely," Harding said. "I felt like I hit it quite nicely.
"I think I've just got to take it one round at a time, one shot a time for me at the moment as well.
"It's been a while since I've been up there, so it's a good feeling. I'm just going to see if I can maybe keep it going."
Harding heads a quintet of South Africans at the top of the leaderboard. Anthony Michael is a shot behind in second, with Theunis Spangenberg five under and Jaco van Zyl and Merrick Bremner four under and three under respectively.
Haydn Porteous finished level par, but attracted attention for a different reason.
After his second shot on the fourth hole found its way to the edge of a water hazard, Porteous removed his shoes, socks, shirt and hat to play his next stroke before eventually settling for a double-bogey.
Faring worse than Porteous was 2011 Masters winner Charl Schwartzel, who carded a one-over 71 despite two birdies on the first three holes.