Danny Willett's hopes of winning the Race to Dubai for the first time continued to fade in the opening round of the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City.
Willett had topped the money list since winning his first major title at the Masters in April, but was overtaken by Open champion Henrik Stenson at the end of October.
Stenson was joint second in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai as Willett could only finish 14 over par and 75th in the 78-man field at Sheshan International.
And Willett could not take advantage of Stenson's absence from the Turkish Airlines Open last week, the 29-year-old ending up joint 68th in Antalya to only reduce his deficit from 261,387 to 252,163 points.
With more than one million points on offer to the winner in South Africa, a second victory for 2008 champion Stenson at the Gary Player Country Club would give the Swede a second Race to Dubai title in four years if Willett finishes outside the top 10.
Willett got off to the ideal start with a birdie from five feet on the first, but ran up a triple-bogey eight on the second after a wayward approach which forced him to take a penalty drop on the third tee.
From there the 29-year-old found a greenside bunker and needed two attempts to escape, and another shot went on the next when he three-putted from long range.<
Willett also bogeyed the eighth to reach the turn in 40, but started the back nine with a birdie on the par-five 10th and also birdied the 13th after dropping a shot on the 11th.
At three over par, the world number 11 was seven shots off the clubhouse lead shared by Chile's Felipe Aguilar and Korea's Wang Jeunghun, with England's Ross Fisher also four under with three holes to play.