He carded a five-under-par 67 to finish the round one off the early pace set by Sweden’s Alex Noren, and it was a change in putter which sparked the fine play.
“I changed putters again this week – back to my old putter that I won Africa Open with. It brings back memories and the stroke feels good with it,” he said. “So maybe it can bring a bit of luck back for me this week. I’ve just got to keep the same rhythm for the rest of the week.”
Back home in South Africa, Fisher has been seen consigning a misbehaving putter to the trunk of his car and scratching out another for duty in the round ahead. But travelling in Europe has meant he can’t be quite as profligate with the infernal implement.
“Changing putters is something regular for me,” he said. “I sometimes go to the course with four putters. That’s just the way it is for me. If I feel a bit uncomfortable, then I’ll just change. I might change back again after a week or two.
“I felt I putted well today. The course is in amazing condition so if you can get the ball rolling nicely off the flat stick, you can get a nice score going around here. There are a few birdie holes out here and there are a few holes that you have to be careful of and just take your par and run.
“The rest of my game has been okay. Nothing special. Since Abu Dhabi, it’s been pretty much a fight. I haven’t been able to find too much form yet. But I found a bit today. I just slowed it up a little bit. I’m a little bit tense out there. I just had to smooth it up a bit, and walk slower – do everything slower.”
The next best South African in the field was Ernie Els, who has changed to a cross-handed grip for his putting stroke in an effort to sort out the woes which beset him on the green during the last two years. The change has been dramatic, and his four-under-par 68 attested to that.
Another South African major winner was next: Trevor Immelman carded a one-under 71.