“This morning was perfect and on this course it’s very important to be on right side of the draw. Today the Wild Coast wasn’t too wild and luckily we played well out there,” he said.
In 2014 the tournament was reduced to 36 holes after gale-force winds made Wild Coast Sun Country Club unplayable.
On Wednesday it was far calmer than a year ago and Groenewald, who won the Zambia Sugar Open in April, was able to capitalise and went bogey-free on day one.
“It had been such a long time since I won and it was an amazing feeling. I’d like to win again – that’s actually why we play, but at this course you can never go for it. I’ve learnt that some holes can just bite you here, so you play the course without pushing,” he said.
The 40-year-old started on the 10th and soon got the ball rolling when he made three birdies on the trot from the 11th to the 13th. His tail was up from there and he added a further three birdies to reach the clubhouse on six-under-par.
“I got up today and there was no wind, but I still decided to play for fairways and greens. It was a little bit breezy, but I started solid and that got me going.
“I wanted to play the back nine well, and I managed to turn in 31, which was nice. And then made two more birdies on the other nine, so it was a good round,” he said.
By the end of the first 18 he was tied at the top with Andrew Georgiou and Desvonde Botes, who each shot 64s of their own.
Georgiou, who lives in Cape Town, was happy to be competing on a coastal track where the wind often picks up.
“The hardest part is to stay patient. You need mental toughness and to stay positive when it blows. Two-iron is one of my favourite clubs in the bag and I love it on the coast, so let the wind blow!” he said.