(CNN) -- Nicolas Colsaerts produced a monstrous 419-yard drive to stun his opponents at the Durban Country Club Thursday.
The Belgian, who was part of the victorious European Ryder Cup team which won at Medina, was the biggest driver on the European and PGA Tours last season.
But even local favorite Ernie Els was shocked by the sheer power and distance Colsaerts managed to get on his ball at the third hole.
"I've been coming here since 1986 I think and I've never seen a ball there, nobody has," Els told reporters.
"They should put a plaque down. I was coming from a different zip code. And I've got to compete against these animals!"
While Colsaerts stole the show with his huge driving, it was Els who enjoyed the better round of the two.
The South African finished the day in second position, on four-under alongside compatriot Louis Oosthuizen following a round of 68.
"We probably got the bad side of the draw, but that's part of golf," said Oosthuizen,
"I enjoy the course. You have to think a lot - I hit the driver on only two holes - and put a three-iron in my bag only 15 minutes before we teed off."
Former paratrooper Thongchai Jaidee leads the field by three shots following a round of seven-under 65.
Thongchai recorded eight birdies during his opening round to seal his place at the top of the leaderboard.
"I enjoyed the course which requires you to think a lot," said the 43-year-old Thai.
"I used a driver only twice and found a three iron I put in my bag just before teeing off very useful."