Louis Albertse started this new Sunshine Tour season fuelled by the confidence of his last season, and he opened with a six-under-par 66 to lead the Lombard Insurance Classic at Arabella Country Estate on Friday.
Albertse didn't drop a single shot as he claimed a one-stroke lead over Herman Loubser, with Hennie Otto, Keith Horne and Dean O'Riley all ending the first day two shots off the lead.
Albertse had a groundbreaking 2021/22 season on the Sunshine Tour in which he finished in the top 50 on the Luno Order of Merit for the first time in his career, including a maiden victory in the Vodacom Origins of Golf at Mount Edgecombe.
"That's been a big confidence booster for me. It's kind of like a pat on the back to say you're on the right track," said Albertse.
"It's always a privilege to play good golf on a great course and to do so on the Sunshine Tour. I enjoy the golf course. Coming from Pretoria and Johannesburg, I just love the atmosphere here. It's so nice being in this environment, and the condition of the golf course is great."
As one of the few players in the field to sign for a bogey-free round on Friday, Albertse says the secret to his performance lay more in his mental approach than any technical aspects of his game.
"There are always a few things you're tweaking in your swing. After the season-ending Tour Championship and the wind there, I felt like there were maybe a few things I needed to fix with my swing," he said.
"So I had low expectations at the start of my first round here. I just told myself to try and be as comfortable as possible and just keep the ball in play. This is not a long golf course, so if you keep the ball in play, then you've always got a chance."
It's the same attitude he'll carry into the weekend as he pushes for his second victory on the Sunshine Tour.
"I'll definitely try and do so. I think this course is one you have to respect. You have to play a chess game around here," he said.
So far, Albertse is making all the right moves.
66 - Louis Albertse
67 - Herman Loubser
68 - Hennie Otto, Keith Horne, Dean O'Riley
69 - Hennie O'Kennedy, Kyle Barker, Joshua Seale, Pieter Moolman
70 - Jacques P de Villiers, Ockie Strydom, Rupert Kaminski, Wynand Dingle
71 - Martin Vorster, Jake Roos, MJ Viljoen, Clancy Waugh
72 - Richard Joubert, Andre De Decker, Rourke van der Spuy, Luke Brown, Jacquin Hess
73 - Tristin Galant, Bradley Bawden, Ryan Van Velzen, Clinton Grobler, Deon Germishuys, Combrinck Smit, JJ Senekal, Jacques Blaauw, Luke Jerling
74 - Joe Long, Keelan Africa, Yubin Jung, Keagan Thomas, Ruan Korb, Peter Karmis, Trevor Fisher Jnr, Jake Redman, Keenan Davidse, Heinrich Bruiners, Sean Cronje
75 - Chris Cannon, Keelan van Wyk, Luca Filippi, Tristen Strydom, Paul Boshoff, Dwayne Basson, Dylan Mostert, Jean Hugo
76 - Vaughn van Deventer, Stefan Wears-Taylor, Hayden Griffiths, Danie Van Niekerk, Byron Coetzee, Estiaan Conradie, Albert Venter, Franklin Manchest, Erhard Lambrechts
77 - Alex Haindl, Therion Nel, Aneurin Gounden, Rhys West, Christiaan Basson, Nikhil Rama
78 - Merrick Bremner, Jared Harvey, Kyle McClatchie, Stephen Ferreira
79 - Adam Breen, Gerrit Foster, Brooklin Bailey
80 - Steven Le Roux, Lyle Rowe
81 - Gerard du Plooy
82 - Adriel Poonan