Sergio Garcia leads after Nedbank Golf Challenge Round 1

Florence Fletcher
November 10, 2018

Sergio García fired a superb eight-under-par opening-round 64 in the Nedbank Golf Challenge on Thursday to take a four-shot lead at Sun City with star attraction Rory McIlroy eight behind.

The Englishman was seven shots off the pace after the opening day but briefly got within two of leader Sergio Garcia after getting to eight under through 14 holes of his second round.

The Spaniard was clear of three players who shot 4-under 68s: Charl Schwartzel, Mike Lorenzo-Vera, and Mikko Korhonen.

Garcia's error-free round was in stark contrast to that of world number six McIlroy, whose level-par 72 was characterised by some wayward driving.

But he was once again unable to safely negotiate the par-four eighth, following his first-round bogey with a double bogey Friday.

Oosthuizen, who began the day five behind Garcia, made the quick start he needed with three birdies in the first four holes. I rolled the ball nicely, I made some good putts here and there.

"I'm pretty happy with the round", Oosthuizen told reporters.

"I've played good golf, I've played consistent golf, and I've played in six final groups this year but I haven't had a win out of any of those final groups", McIlroy added.

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"Over the years eight has always been a tough tee shot on the eye for me, I only see a three-iron there and it was a bit into the breeze today".

Garcia is a fresh off winning the Andalucía Masters at the iconic Valderrama Golf Club, but knew that he couldn't just rely on his current form at a course where he has won in 2001 and 2003 (following playoffs against local favourites Ernie Els and Retief Goosen respectively).

Garcia extended his lead to five shots with birdies at the first two holes but had to sign for a one-under-par 71 after three bogeys in the last six holes at Sun City. He bogeyed the final three holes as well.

In nine previous appearances at Sun City, 2011 Masters champion Schwartzel has had five top-10 finishes, including being runner-up to German Martin Kaymer in 2012.

Eighth-placed McIlroy is nearly £1.75m behind Molinari and needs to win at least one of the remaining two events to overhaul the Italian, who enjoys a lead of just under £1m from Ryder Cup partner and defending champion Tommy Fleetwood.

"My thing is, I'm coming here with the goal‚" said McIlroy‚ rather ominously.

"I have not been putting myself in positions off the tee to give myself chances with irons to get close enough to have a good look at birdies", he said. "If you do that you give yourself a chance".

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