Johannesburg - It was on one of the shortest golf courses on the Sunshine Tour where the big-hitting Merrick Bremner showed the most restraint. And it paid off as he took the first-round lead in the Origins of Golf tournament at Selborne Park Golf Club in Pennington on Wednesday.
Not that Bremner held back on his way to seven birdies and an eagle for a nine-under-par 63 and a two-stroke lead.
There was more controlled aggression to Bremner's game, who, in his last three tournaments, had finished first, 13th and second.
"I played fantastic golf. I managed the course well and hit good shots when I needed to," said Bremner, who used his driver only four times in the round. But it was his course management which really stood out.
"This is a demanding course in terms of hitting yourself into position off the tee box. There are a lot of doglegs and blind tee shots and so on. I did that well when I needed to."
Teeing off the 10th, he opened with back-to-back birdies. Then on the par-four 18th he drove into the greenside bunker, and holed that for an eagle. He carried that momentum into three birdies from the first, and added further birdies at holes seven and eight.
"It's a good feeling to contend so consistently. It's just more preparation for when I go to the European Tour's Qualifying School at the end of the year."
But it's somewhere between being one of the biggest hitters on tour and an ability to self-destruct during a round that Bremner has found the kind of balance he's enjoying at the moment.
"I've found my love for the game again. I'm just enjoying being out here and am playing to have fun and make as many birdies as I can. If you place too much pressure on yourself, you're not enjoying the game anymore."
Adilson da Silva is his nearest challenger after a 65. Neil Schietekat is once again challenging for a maiden victory after his 66, and the group of players on five under includes recent champion Jacques Blaauw and rookie Musiwalo Nethunzwi.