MALELANE, South Africa -- Frenchman Gregory Bourdy held a one-shot lead after the opening round of the Alfred Dunhill Championship on Thursday, with a revived Charl Schwartzel one of six players tied for second just behind him.
Bourdy was flawless around Leopard Creek Country Club for a 6-under 66, carding six birdies and no dropped shots to set the early pace.
Bourdy was just clear of Schwartzel and five others at the second event on the European Tour's 2013 Race to Dubai.
A fit-again Schwartzel, who won in Thailand last weekend for his first title since the 2011 Masters, had five birdies and no bogeys in his 5-under 67.
The South African shared second with countrymen Louis de Jager, Oliver Bekker and Darren Fichardt and English pair Steve Webster and Richard Bland.
Branden Grace was in a tie for eighth after his 68, while former British Open champion and No. 5-ranked Louis Oosthuizen struggled to a 73, chiefly because of a quadruple-bogey eight on the third hole -- his 12th.
Bourdy has won on South Africa's Sunshine Tour before and has three European Tour titles. He had three birdies on either side of the turn in a smooth start to his week at Leopard Creek in northern South Africa.
Behind him, Schwartzel was beginning to find his 2011 form after struggling for much of this year with a chest injury.
Having powered to an 11-shot win in Bangkok on Sunday, Schwartzel put himself in early contention for back-to-back wins to begin his new season.
"It's a nice start," Schwartzel said. "Whenever you can start off with a 5 under it's good. Like I always say, you can't win on the first day, but you can sure lose it."
Webster, who lost in a playoff in the opening tournament of the new European Tour season last weekend, also went bogey-free in his 5-under 67.
Grace, a four-time winner this year, was tied for eighth on 4 under with Germany's Maximilian Kieffer, England's Graeme Storm and another South African, Mark Williams.