Jbe Kruger and Andy Sullivan both shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the European Tour's South African Open.

Ernie Els was a shot behind as he searches for his first win in nearly two years.

Els opened 2015 with a 67 in his home town, picking up three birdies in his first nine after starting on No. 10 and making his only bogey on No. 12.

Els' South African compatriot Kruger was bogey-free around Glendower Golf Club, while England's Sullivan recovered from a double bogey to ultimately card six birdies and an eagle.

Els was without a top-three finish on the European Tour last year for the first time since 1992, but his crisp iron play put him in early contention for a sixth South African Open title.