Currently at level par, he finds himself seven shots off a fast pace set by South Africans Victor Lange and JC Ritchie.
Last year’s Sunshine Tour Rookie of the Year, O’Briain felt it was a round that got away from him but saw enough in his ball-striking to go into the rest of the week with optimism.
“A little bit underwhelming to be honest,” was O’Briain’s initial assessment. “I hit the ball nicely but had a couple of bad three putts out there; the greens were like lightening and the golf course is quite long.
“But I played solid, definitely content with how I hit it. I had four or five lip outs which didn’t help but obviously that happens to everybody.
All-in-all, it was very, very close to being very good. I’m looking forward to kicking on again tomorrow and getting a good start to this run of events down here.
“I’m happy with my game so I just have to stay patient and hopefully everything will start falling into place.”
O’Briain, who got married last November before giving the clubs a rest to focus on family life, will be hoping his short-stick can catch fire tomorrow in order to build some confidence through a busy February’s golf.