South Africa’s team of Erik van Rooyen and Dylan Frittelli made a solid start to the World Cup of Golf tournament at the Metropolitan Club in Melbourne, Australia, on Thursday when they shot a betterball 66 to sit four behind the first-round leaders.
They had four birdies and a bogey on their opening nine to go out in two-under. Coming home they were flawless with three birdies in a row from the 11th, with a closing birdie on the 18th to end the day in a share of 13th.
Ryder Cup duo Ian Poulter and Tyrrell Hatton gave England a share of the lead after day one. The pair carded a bogey-free 62 in the fourballs to get to 10-under alongside home favourites Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith, and South Koreans Byeong-hun An and Si Woo Kim.
Defending champions Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen were a shot off the lead for Denmark alongside Belgian pair Thomas Detry and Thomas Pieters, and the Malaysian team of Gavin Green and Ben Leong.
Frittelli and Van Rooyen will be seeking to claim a sixth title for South Africa in the World Cup of Golf.
The country has a proud record in the tournament including five victories, which puts them third on the all-time list of champions since the event teed off in 1953.
South Africa also has four runners-up finishes in the event.
Gary Player and Harold Henning won South Africa’s first World Cup of Golf title in 1965, followed by the 1974 triumph of Dale Hayes and Bobby Cole, and then wins in 1996 by Ernie Els and Wayne Westner, in 2001 by Els and Retief Goosen, and in 2003 by Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini.
A victory by Frittelli and Van Rooyen would take South Africa into second place on the all-time list of victories, which is led by the United States with 24 titles.