The new European Tour season opened with special dispensation for players to wear shorts due to the excessive heat with temperatures rising to as high as 40 degrees.

The 33-year-old Dutchman Besseling, who usually competes on the Challenger Tour, set the pace at the course which is on the border of the Kruger Park.


Besseling leads South African Keith Horne, Pablo Larrazabal of Spain and England's Garrick Porteous, who qualified for the Tour last week.

They all carded 66, with another Spaniard Alejandro Canizares a stroke back on 67.

Former Masters champion Charl Schwartzel returned after a lengthy layoff with wrist problems to card a 70 in his first competitive round in seven months.

Queenslander Jake McLeod (74) is the lone Australian in the field and has work to do to make the cut.