Welshman Rhys Davies carded an opening 66 in the Joburg Open on Thursday as he looked to revive his career on the European Tour.
Davies won the Hassan Trophy in Morocco in 2010 and recorded three runner-up finishes that season, including the Wales Open at Celtic Manor after a closing 62 to make him a contender for Europe's Ryder Cup team at the Newport resort later that year.
But after missing out on Colin Montgomerie's side and finishing 56th on the money list in 2011, Davies lost his card at the end of the following season and only regained it last year courtesy of finishing eighth on the second-tier Challenge Tour.
The 30-year-old missed the cut in his first two European Tour events of the season but six birdies and one bogey on the West Course at Royal Johannesburg and Kensington left the former Walker Cup star - who beat American stars Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler in the singles in 2007 - just one shot off the clubhouse lead held by South African Mark Williams.
Williams carded an eagle, six birdies and a double bogey to finish six under par, with compatriot Jean Hugo joining Davies on five under after a 67 on the East Course, one of two used in the first two rounds.
England's Max Orrin had looked on course to set the early pace with two eagles and three birdies in his first 14 holes, but the 21-year-old bogeyed the 16th and ran up a double-bogey seven on the last to finish three under.