Allan Versfeld opened with 70 in the first stage of the European Tour Qualifying School at Wychwood Park on Tuesday.
Versfeld held a share of ninth with his first round of two-under-par, but cannot relax yet – only the top-25 progress to the second stage.
He joins five countrymen in contention, namely Le Roux Ferreira, Nico Els, Darryn Lloyd, Andrew Georgiou and Tyrone Mordt, the last two of whom carded credible first rounds of 71.
On the 7,191 yard course in Cheshire, the 109-player field was led by an opening 64 from Swede Benny Ahlenback.
Versfeld, who currently leads the Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year race, finished six shots back and led the South African charge on day one.
Mordt and Georgiou both hold a share of 20th at one-under-par, but must remain within the boundary of progression in the upcoming three rounds.
Darryn Lloyd carded level-par for the first day and joined in a 16-way share of 29th.
Le Roux Ferreira and Nico Els both struggled on the first day, but while the formerÂs two-over can be recovered, the latterÂs eight-over left him four spots from the back and Els is unlikely to recover.
VersfeldÂs 70 was a solid start, but much work lies ahead of the youngster before stage two and the eventual final examination at PGA Catalunya Resort.