Robert Allenby had no reason to regret skipping his home Australian Open as he took the early lead in the Nedbank Challenge at Sun City in South Africa today.
Allenby went to the turn in a three-under-par 33 to be two ahead of defending champion Henrik Stenson and local favourite Retief Goosen.
The 12-man event offers a first prize of over £720,000 (€791,758) and includes five Europeans.
Twenty-year-old Rory McIlroy, keen to get back to winning ways after finishing second on the European money list and at the Hong Kong Open and World Cup in recent weeks, produced a real mixed bag at the start of his round.
The Irishman bogeyed two of the first three holes, then produced back-to-back birdies, but bogeyed the short seventh to slip back to one-over.
England's Ross Fisher was alongside him and had holed a bunker shot on the fifth for that, while compatriot Luke Donald was bringing up the rear on three-over after taking seven at the 572-yard second and bogeying the next.
Stenson's fellow Swede Robert Karlsson was level-par after seven.
Allenby had been caught on three-under by both Goosen and Karlsson when play was suspended because of a lightning threat.