Bernd Wiesberger holds a one-shot lead after the first round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge and Tommy Fleetwood has ground to make up if he is to wrap up the Race to Dubai title in Sun City.
Wiesberger signed for a five-under 67 to hold a slender lead after a stunning back nine from the Austrian at Gary Player Country Club.
The four-time European Tour champion was level par at the turn, but surged up the leaderboard with six birdies and just the one bogey on the back nine.
Wiesberger took the outright lead with an eighth gain of the day at the last following a glorious approach shot as he eyes a second victory of the season in the penultimate event.
Branden Grace is among a quartet of players just one stroke behind Wiesberger, recovering from being two over after four by coming up with an eagle three at 14 and four birdies.
Victor Dubuisson, Scott Jamieson and Julian Suri, striving to seal a spot in the top 60 in the Race to Dubai standings in order to be among the field at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai next week, also put themselves in contention with rounds of 68.
Defending champion Alex Noren, eighth in the battle to be crowned European number one, is a further shot back on three under, dropping his only shot of the day at 17 after chipping in for eagle at the 10th.
Defending your title in style. pic.twitter.com/Ety4xraZ4j— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) November 9, 2017
Charl Schwartzel is well placed on three under in his homeland along with Noren, Graeme Storm and Hideto Tanihara.
Fleetwood can wrap up the Race to Dubai with a win on Sunday, but the Englishman is six shots off the pace.
Ross Fisher – who also harbours hopes of landing the lucrative crown – is among 12 players just three shots adrift of Wiesberger.
20. September 2018
|Celtic 1 Rosenborg 0: Griffiths late show lifts Hoops|
|Woods eagles 18 to make 65 at Tour Championship|
|Arsenal 4 Vorskla 2: Aubameyang at the double in entertaining triumph|
|Dudelange 0 AC Milan 1: Deflected Higuain goal spares Gattuso´s blushes|
|Birthday boy Rashid inspires Afghanistan to Asia Cup win|
|Sarri feeling sorry for ´unlucky´ Morata|
|Ryder Cup pick Garcia shoots 66 at Portugal Masters|
|Ronaldo, Zidane, Cantona and the most infamous red cards|
|Villarreal 2 Rangers 2: Arfield and Lafferty steal point for Gerrard´s men|
|PAOK 0 Chelsea 1: Willian strikes as Morata misfires|
|Rain delays Ostapenko in Seoul, Wang books Guangzhou semi|
|Pochettino backs Kane to end goal drought|
|We figured it out - 76ers´ Markelle Fultz rebuilds jump shot|
|Joshua: Povetkin my second-toughest fight|
|Relaxed Pochettino not pushing panic button|
|Why Manchester City fans must fix their relationship with the Champions League|
|Majestic Giorgi ends Wozniacki´s reign in Tokyo|
|Pochettino unwilling to risk Alli fitness|
|Bigger Champions League tests to come, warns Pogba|
|Eight for 10! - Nadeem spins his way to world-record figures|
|A 4-1 lead cut to 3-2 by VAR, but Quakes have no complaints after Atlanta defeat|
|UEFA opens disciplinary proceedings against Ronaldo|
|Joshua v Povetkin: Recapping AJ´s previous world title defences|
|Players told to ink twice over showing tattoos at Rugby World Cup in Japan|
|Mariano targeting Spain call-up after goalscoring Madrid return|
|Pandya, Axar and Thakur out of Asia Cup|
|England omit Cipriani, Tuilagi and Ashton called up|
|Can reacts to Ronaldo´s red card: We are not women|
|One Year to Go: Five Rugby World Cup debutants set to shine|
|Shy Osaka not comfortable with new-found fame|
|Belgium and World Cup winners France make FIFA rankings history|
|Ronaldo wanted to impress - Bernardeschi sympathises after Juve superstar´s red|
|Van Dijk warns Liverpool: Believe we can win trophies or stay home|
|Menezes complains of anti-Brazilian conspiracy after Dede´s VAR red|
|Diamondbacks rout Cubs to remain in postseason picture|
|Modric embraces Ballon d´Or chants as Di Francesco backs Madrid star for award|
|MLS Review: Martinez helps Atlanta stage comeback amid VAR controversy|
|Kerevi recommits to Wallabies, Reds|
|Lyon to ban fan for life after footage of Nazi salute emerges|
|Milan must respect opponents – Gattuso not underestimating Dudelange|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Zarate leads Boca, River draw|
|Mourinho: Dalot can play at Man United for more than 10 years|
|Johnson hoping to erase East Lake demons|
|´No question´ Fitzgerald faces Bears, says Cardinals´ Wilks|
|Rodgers says roughing the passer penalties are ´going the wrong direction´|
|Ravens fined $200,000 for violating communication policy|
|LeBron James set to star in ´Space Jam´ sequel|
|Ronaldo red card ´absurd´, says Pjanic|
|Kovac hails ´special´ Sanches after Bayern goal|
|Marcelino: Tearful Ronaldo said he did nothing wrong|
|Fernandinho takes blame for Man City´s Lyon loss|
|Lovren denies any wrongdoing after perjury charge|
|Plzen boss Vrba slams late mistakes|
|I almost scored as many as Messi - Tagliafico the unlikely hero for Ajax|
|Ronaldo deserves Ballon d´Or not Modric, says Casemiro|
|United fan Rafael - I´ve never lost at City|
|Davis explains abrupt mid-game NFL retirement: ´Football is not for me´|
|Lopes pays tribute to under-fire Lyon coach Genesio|
|Toulon´s Bastareaud handed five-week ban|
|Steelers WR Brown disciplined for missing meeting|
|Arteta refuses to make excuses for Manchester City´s Lyon loss|
|Allegri calls for VAR after Ronaldo´s contentious red card|
|Championship Review: Boro go second, Birmingham still winless|
|Lopetegui: Mariano took his chance|
|Juventus proved their quality after Ronaldo red card - Bonucci|
|Pogba ´class´ impresses Mourinho|
19. September 2018
|Man City not Champions League favourites, insists Bernardo Silva|
|Isco calls for Modric to win Ballon d´Or after Champions League win|
|Wawrinka into last eight in St Petersburg|
|Goal hero Pogba is one of the best in the world - Shaw|