The Meltham man began on the 10th hole at Mossel Bay GC and was two under after just two holes thanks to successive birdies.
He gave one shot back at the 13th, but responded at the next with a birdie and added two more – at 16 and 18 – for a ‘front’ nine of four-under 32.
However, he had seven pars and two bogeys, the latter pair at holes four and five, to be back ‘home’ in 38 to lie fifth after the first round.
South African Jade Buitendag (Kingswood Golf Estate) leads after a five-under-par 67.
“My score was not too bad today,” said Bower, who is a member of England Golf’s men’s squad that is spending six weeks playing competitive golf in South Africa..
“I wouldn’t say the front nine (which he covered in six more shots than the back nine) is any harder really; I just played poor on it.”
He added: “I didn’t play well at all today long-game wise; I was all over the place.
“I just putted really well and managed to hang on at the end. My short game has been really good pretty much every round so far.”
Last weekend Bower backed up his victory in the Gauteng North Open – his first overseas triumph – with third place at the African Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Leopard Creek.