“It’s nice to be home and to visit Cape Town again. It was difficult today because it was rainy and windy, but I played well,” said the three-time European Tour winner.
The Cape weather brought out raincoats and umbrellas, but Otto rode the storm and birdied two of his final three holes for a one-shot lead over Omar Sandys.
“The greens are very soft,” said Otto. “You have to play shots a little differently and hit it past the flag. The rough is up as well, so I’m happy with a start like this.”
The in-form 37-year-old had no trouble starting up the round and birdied four of his first six holes to reach the turn at four-under. A birdie at the 10th looked to spark a seriously low round, but his charge ended with a lone bogey, which came at the 13th.
Otto, now in his 16th year on the Sunshine Tour, switched on the magic over his closing holes and birdied the 16th and 17th for the outright lead.
“We’ll take it day by day, but it’s been going good for the last two months. Let’s try and ride the wave and see how far we go,” he said.
Fellow veteran Sandys started on the 10th and bogeyed his first two holes, but recovered the shots with birdies at the 12th and 15th, which are the two par-threes of the back nine. The 36-year-old blew through his second nine in 31 strokes to reach the clubhouse in sole second.
“I was very positive the whole week, but I had a bad start today and didn’t know where this round was going to go. I began to hit good shots and tried to play fairway and green and soon I was scoring. I birdied all four of the par-threes today and that was because I was hitting it so well,” he said.
Sandys aimed to turn around his disappointing season over the summer and his start at Royal Cape was a step in the right direction.
“Good memories always come back. When I walked down the ninth, which was my last hole, and I saw myself on the leaderboard it inspired me. I’m looking forward to the next three days, but I have to focus on staying in the moment,” he said.
Anthony Michael set the clubhouse lead at four-under-par early in the day, but slipped back to tied third alongside Peter Karmis by the close of play. 13 players shared fifth on three-under-par.