MALTON'S Simon Dyson shot a three-over-par 75 with two disparate halves to his round as he returned to the European Tour after a seven-month absence.
Starting at the 10th hole at the Glendower GC, in Gauteng, Johannesburg, he was two under par after nine holes of the BMW SA Open.
Dyson had not played competitively since the Irish Open in May last year following wrist surgery, but there appeared no rustiness as he birdied holes 11 and 15 to be 'out' in 34.
However, he amassed five bogeys on the front nine - including four on the spin from the second - and said on Twitter: "Not quite the round I was looking for today but enjoyed it out there..especially my first 9 holes."
Tour newcomer Daniel Gavins, from Leeds, was one under par through 15 holes when play was suspended for the day due to the threat of lightning.
The 24-year-old also started at the 10th, and eight pars and a birdie at the 14th had him at one under.
After a bogey at the first he got himself to two under with birdies at holes two and four, but gave one back at the fifth before the cessation of play.
Huddersfield's Chris Hanson, another to start at the 10th, was two over after nine with a birdie at 13 consumed by bogeys at 10, 15 and 18.
A further shot was dropped at the seventh, but the Woodsome Hall man birdied his last hole of the day and tweeted: "Tricky day, new experience for me playing such altitude in a decent wind. Distance control so tough."
Hull's Richard Finch was the fourth of Yorkshire's five contestants in the event to begin his round at the 10th, and seven holes later had retired from the event.
He double bogeyed his opening hole, birdied 11 and 13, albeit with a bogey in between, and then dropped three further shots in the next two holes before ending his first tournament of the season prematurely.
Harrogate's John Parry only had one hole to play when the players were called off the course and will return on Friday seven over.
He double bogeyed holes two and three and dropped shots at three consecutive holes from the fifth.
A birdie at the ninth and two more at holes 13 and 15 were negated by a third double bogey at 12 and a single dropped shot at 14.
South Africa's Jaco van Zyl claimed the clubhouse lead as tournament host Ernie Els suffered another attack of the dreaded yips.
Els had been three over par with three holes to play before reviving his round with a birdie on the seventh and an eagle on the par-5 eighth.
However, the four-time major winner then three-putted the ninth, his final hole, to card a one-over-par 73, the 46-year-old's par putt from 18 inches not even touching the hole.
Els missed two similar putts in the space of a month towards the end of last season and admitted at the time he did not want to watch the first of them, during the Dunhill Links Championship, after it went viral on the internet.
''I knew what it felt like and it was a thing of disaster," Els said at the time. ''If anybody has ever seen the yips, that was the perfect yip stroke.''
Compatriot Van Zyl had no such concerns as he looks to add a first European Tour title to his 13 wins on the Sunshine Tour, the world No 65 firing an eagle, six birdies and one bogey to card an opening 65.
Van Zyl held a one-shot lead over compatriot Shaun Norris, with fellow South Africans Keith Horne and Jbe Kruger both completing rounds of 67 shortly before play was suspended for the day.
Two-time major winner Retief Goosen was a shot further back after a round containing eight birdies and two double bogeys, with defending champion Andy Sullivan, from England, struggling to a 75, which included four-putting from 25 feet on the 17th.