The 25-year-old avoided the many water hazards on the 6104-metre course and reached the clubhouse on four-under-par, one shot behind early leader Jean Hugo.
“This course forces your hand a bit – you have to be a thinker out there,” said Van Rooyen. “It’s a lot of focus and course management, not driver all over. You’ve really got to place your ball and I did a good job of that today, so I’m very satisfied.”
By the time he signed for 68 there had already been 80 double bogeys or worse scored during the first round, but his card reflected none of the struggles that his rivals were having.
“I think it’s my first bogey-free round as a professional, so I’m very happy,” he said. “Today felt like it was the easiest this course will play throughout the week, so it was nice to take advantage of it.”
Also in the mix was Shaun Smith, who started on the 10th and carded 31 on his outward nine. The 23-year-old Fancourt professional wrapped up day one on four-under-par to join Van Rooyen in a share of second place.
Hugo cruised around San Lameer with his usual nonchalance while still managing to shoot 67, which was the best round of the morning. The nine-time Vodacom Origins of Golf winner looked ready to claim a record 10th title on the series.
“When we came this morning the wind was quiet, which allowed me to plan my shots. When the breeze picks up then you have to reassess, so it’s good to have a solid first round to build on.
“If you’ve won that many then you try to build on it and I always try to motivate myself when I play Vodacom Origins of Golf. There are still 36 holes left to play, but I’m in a good spot,” he said.