Stephen Dodd and Bradley Dredge paired together for victory last year for Wales and are close to the top of the leaderboard again. On Thursday, they teamed for a 6-under-par 65 and share fourth with Bernhard Langer and Marcel Siem of Germany.
The American duo of Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry re-kindled some of their Ryder Cup magic on Thursday. They combined for a 5-under-par 66 and are part of a group tied for sixth place.
'Stewart and I have very similar games,' said Henry, who went undefeated with Cink at this year's Ryder Cup. 'He's the wily veteran of the two. He's been out here a couple of years longer.'
The strong English tandem of Luke Donald and David Howell matched the Americans at minus-5 as did the Korean pair of S.K. Ho and Charlie Wi.
Thursday's action was in a four-ball, or better-ball, format and that will be the case on Saturday as well. On Friday and Sunday, it will be foursomes or alternate-shot.
The players were greeted by sporadic rain showers on Thursday, sometimes bringing strong storms. One thing that was not sporadic was the wind, often times gusting close to 30 miles per hour.
Argentina, represented by Angel Cabrera and Andres Romero, started poorly with a bogey at the first. The team rebounded with back-to-back birdies from the second and added another front-nine birdie at the par-5 sixth.
The team combined for five pars around the turn, but the Argentineans caught fire in a big way. Cabrera and Romero recorded five consecutive birdies from the fifth to soar into a tie for the lead.
South Africa, which has won two of the last five World Cups, is anchored by Rory Sabbatini, who successfully paired with Trevor Immelman on the way to victory in 2003, and Richard Sterne.
The two got off to a relatively slow start as they birdied three and six on the front side. Sabbatini and Sterne collected four birdies in a six-hole span after the turn, then joined the lead toward the end of the round.
At the par-3 closing hole at the Country Club Course at Sandy Lane Resort, Sabbatini, who won this year's Nissan Open, rolled in a 6-foot birdie putt. That got South Africa into a tie for the lead.
'I had to smack him around a little bit at the turn to tell him to wake up,' joked Sabbatini. 'Once I did that, he started playing properly. We kept the ball in play for the most part. I think 16 of 18 holes we had a good opportunity at birdie.'
Sweden comes in with one of the strongest duos - 12th-ranked Henrik Stenson and 37th-ranked Carl Pettersson. The team played consistently on the front side with four birdies, but the pair seemed to lag on the second nine.
They managed only one birdie, a three at the par-4 12th before coming on down the stretch. Petterssen nearly holed an 18-foot eagle putt at the 15th before settling for a birdie.
On the final hole, Petterssen hit his tee ball 15 feet right of the flag and Stenson played his shot almost a foot in front of Petterssen's. After Petterssen missed his birdie putt, the two conferred and Stenson sank his to put Sweden in a share of the lead.
Ireland, manned by Ryder Cup teammates Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley, posted a 4-under 67 and is tied for ninth place with Colombia (Camilo Villegas and Manuel Merizalde), Japan (Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Hideto Tanihara) and Scotland (Colin Montgomerie and Marc Warren).