STIRLING’S Craig Lee, who is battling to hold on to his European Tour card for next season, got off to a promising start in his last throw of the dice.
He opened with a five-under-par 67 in the South African Open to sit in joint fourth, three off the pace set by home player Merrick Bremner at Serengeti.
Lee is sitting 116th on the money list and probably needs to finish 119th or better to retain his card for another year as there are four affiliate members likely to come off when it comes to the final reckoning.
The Scot’s opening effort was highlighted by an eagle-2 at the 382-yard second and also included six birdies.
Lying 113th on the list, Fifer Peter Whiteford also needs to pick up a cheque to cement his position. He carded a respectable 69, recovering well from an opening double-bogey six to register five birdies.
David Drysdale also opened with a three-under-par effort, boosting his hopes of staying inside the top 60 and thus securing a spot in next week’s Dubai World Championship.
Marc Warren, chasing that same target, and Lloyd Saltman each had 70s, one fewer than George Murray and Alastair Forsyth, but Steven O’Hara is down in a tie for 98th after his 74.
Bremner, a 26-year-old, matched the course record to lead by two shots from compatriot Matthew Carvell and former Ryder Cup Swede Henrik Stenson.