Even though there was never much more than a gentle breeze blowing during the round, the confidence bred by knowing he had a go-to shot saw him card a bogey-free seven-under-par 65 to hold a one-stroke edge over JC Ritchie, Ruan De Smidt and Jake Redman.
“Last year, the wind was pounding and I learnt a wind shot from that week,” he said. “I didn’t have any choice and it’s sort of stuck with me throughout. So it was good to come here and still have the same stock shot. So I was always in play.”
Ferreira has had a season which has threatened at times to ignite – a best finish of a share of just ninth in the Investec Royal Swazi Open belies some of the birdie streaks on which he’s embarked at times – but has been unable to maintain any hot streaks that have come his way.
“I played very nicely today,” he explained. “Last week, I had it going as well, but two doubles and a triple broke my confidence a bit. So it was good to keep it going this week.
“I’ve been playing really solid golf, but a few big mistakes cost me. So I was just trying to have a mistake-free round, and today, I had no bogeys on the card. Things went according to plan.”
His was the only round of the day without any dropped shots: The three men in second each made just a single bogey, Redman’s frustrating coming with a three-putt on the ninth, the last of his round. “That left a bit of a sour taste,” he said.
Two players were a further shot back in a share of fifth after the first round – Kevin Rundle and Chris Swanepoel signed for a pair of 67s.
For Ferreira, it was all about having a weapon to deal with whatever conditions might have challenged him. “The wind came up for us probably with about 10 holes to go,” he said. “When we played on the coast in KwaZulu-Natal, I used it a bit, and I used it at St Francis Links last week, and I used it today a lot. It’s a very low draw and I seem to be able to control it all the time.”