Roos, starting on the 10th tee, began with an iffy drive but promptly sank his second, a five-iron from 163 metres, for a spectacular eagle on the par-four dogleg hole. A birdie followed on the par-four 11th, before the 34-year-old missed the green and bogeyed the par-three 12th.
But thereafter it was smooth sailing for Roos as he capitalised on the easier back nine with three successive birdies from the 14th hole and added two more birdies coming in, on the sixth and ninth holes, both of which are par-fours.
Roos posted a seven-under-par 65, which left him one stroke ahead of Englishman Matt Ford and two ahead of Spain’s Nacho Elvira and South African Michael Hollick.
“The first hole, when I holed out with my second, was just the ice-breaker I needed. The five-iron came out perfectly, it looked good all the way but I couldn’t see because of the slope of the green. One guy put his hand up at the green and I just started laughing and took it from there,” Roos said after his fabulous round.
“I felt good about the day, I was comfortable, swinging nicely and I had some great birdie putts on the back nine, where there are more birdie opportunities. The front nine is quite tough, especially the opening holes. Six is the only really short one and I was able to take advantage there, and then I had a nice putt on the last from 15-20 feet. The ninth is playing long and I had to hit a six-iron in, a bit into the wind. But I was rolling the putts very nicely today.”
Ford, who has just earned a place on the European Tour for the first time after his 10th visit to qualifying school, was alone in second place after a super round that included eight birdies and just two dropped shots.
The 36-year-old said it was his precision iron play that was to thank for his success, leading to 10 putts from inside 10 feet.
Ford was considering giving up golf to become a postman, while Roos earned his European Tour card for the first time through the Challenge Tour; both golfers certainly did not look out of place as they headed the early leaderboard at Malelane.