Branden Grace, the sole South African participating in the Norwegian Challenge at Hauger Golf Klubb, opened with a round of one-under-par 71 on Thursday.
Two late bogeys detracted from a solid round by grace and he ended seven strokes behind leader Roland Steiner, who opened with a card of eight-under-par 64.
Grace has recorded four top-10 finishes this year, and will be determined move up the leaderboard after a mercurial first round in which he made not one fairway off the tee.
The 2010 Coca-Cola Championship winner started the day on the back nine, and carded a birdie on the 13th before returning to par with a bogey on the 15th.
A further birdie on the 16th and Grace made the turn at one-under.
Grace began with promise on his back nine when he opened with two consecutive birdies, but a dropped shot on the third slowed his momentum.
He closed the day with a final bogey on the sixth for a round of 71.
Grace sits just above the cut line, and will hunt a solid second round to ensure his ninth money finish this year.