Max Homa during Round One of the 2023 Nedbank Golf Challenge (Getty Images)
9 NOVEMBER, 2023 - DP WORLD TOUR: Max Homa overcame a lack of competitive action to grasp a share of a four-way tie for the lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Gary Player Country Club.

The World Number Eight, making his debut in Sun City, converted an impressive closing birdie to join Englishman Dan Bradbury, Denmark’s Nicolai Højgaard and Sweden’s Vincent Norrman on six under par following rounds of 66.

Homa, who top-scored for the US Team at the Ryder Cup last month, posted a clean card in ‘Africa’s Major’ despite not teeing it up competitively since the biennial contest at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club. “That was mildly shocking", HOMA SAID. " I would’ve assumed I’d shoot six over before six under so it was a treat. I don’t feel like I’m swinging it amazing but my short irons are very good, I felt like I putted really awesome today. I tried to take advantage of that.

“I was obviously pretty rusty so at the start of the round the goal was just to give myself some putts and ease my way into it. On the back nine I started to find a little something with my driver so that was nice. I was able to be a bit more aggressive, going for the par five in two on 14, that was an advantage. I started to swing it a bit better as the day went on but I just tried to think my way around the golf course.”

Fellow Ryder Cup star Højgaard wasted no time in setting the clubhouse target as he recovered from an opening bogey in the first group of the day to earn a share of the first round lead and be well placed as he targets a late surge up the Race to Dubai Rankings.

Bradbury continued his love affair with South Africa with his opening round of 66 which included a stunning 75-foot eagle putt at the par five ninth hole. The 24-year-old started the year without any playing privileges on the DP World Tour before winning the Joburg Open in November 2022 while playing on an invite.

The leading quartet is completed by Swede Norrman, who has proven himself as a man who knows how to win in recent weeks. The 25-year-old, who is also making his tournament debut this week, went bogey free as he looks to make it three victories in his last ten worldwide starts following his triumphs at the Barbasol Championship and Horizon Irish Open.

The leaders sit one shot clear of three players in a share of fifth place, with Frenchman Julien Guerrier and Japan’s Ryo Hisatsune joining Poland’s Adrian Meronk on five under par. Meronk, a four-time DP World Tour winner, is currently third on the Race to Dubai and a win in South Africa this week would keep his hopes of winning the season-long Rankings alive.

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