Ernie Els said he was pleased with his putting after opening the Volvo Golf Champions in Durban with a four-under 68.
Els, whose Open victory at Lytham last year was his first major win since 2002, ended the day in tied second place, three shots behind Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee.
"I started working a little bit, really yesterday, for the first time on the greens and started getting a nice feel for it," said Els.
"I've rolled it nicely and I'd like to keep that going obviously."
Els, who has won two of his South African Open titles on the short par 72 in Durban, made a flying start with three birdies out of the gate.
"I was surprised as anybody to start with three birdies. I made some nice putts, especially that second hole," said Els, who added that the greens were in far better shape then when he won the second of those national Opens in 2010.
The three-time major winner was also happy with his driving, saying he'd been "striking it well" with his Callaway driver during gambling games with friends over the holidays.
Fellow South African Louis Oosthuizen was also pleased with his day's work after admitting that conditions were difficult.
"It was tough, especially the last six holes," said the world number six who matched Els' 68 to share second place. "The rain came down and the wind was still blowing and everything was wet. I put my umbrella away and put the rain suit on.
"I did well on the last few holes. I made a few good saves for par and had a nice (birdie) finish on the last."